Limits...
Alternative ways of representing Zapotec and Cuicatec folk classification of birds: a multidimensional model and its implications for culturally-informed conservation in Oaxaca, México.

Alcántara-Salinas G, Ellen RF, Valiñas-Coalla L, Caballero J, Argueta-Villamar A - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2013)

Bottom Line: Post-fieldwork, Principal Component Analysis using NTSYSpc V. 2.11f was applied to obtain pattern variation for the answers from different participants.Using language and pile-sorting data analysed through Principal Component Analysis, we show how both Zapotec and Cuicatec subjects place a particular emphasis on an intermediate level of classification.These categories group birds with non-birds using ecological and behavioral criteria, and violate a strict distinction between symbolic and mundane (or ‘natural’), and between ‘general-purpose’ and ‘single-purpose’ schemes.We suggest that shared classificatory knowledge embodying everyday schemes for apprehending the world of birds might be better reflected in a multidimensional model that would also provide a more realistic basis for developing culturally-informed conservation strategies.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Centro Regional de Investigaciones Multidisciplinarias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM, Av, Universidad s/n, circuito, Colonia Chamilpa, Campus Morelos, Cuernavaca, Morelos C,P, 62210, Mexico. ga63@kentforlife.net.

ABSTRACT

Background: We report on a comparative ethno-ornithological study of Zapotec and Cuicatec communities in Northern Oaxaca, Mexico that provided a challenge to some existing descriptions of folk classification. Our default model was the taxonomic system of ranks developed by Brent Berlin.

Methods: Fieldwork was conducted in the Zapotec village of San Miguel Tiltepec and in the Cuicatec village of San Juan Teponaxtla, using a combination of ethnographic interviews and pile-sorting tests. Post-fieldwork, Principal Component Analysis using NTSYSpc V. 2.11f was applied to obtain pattern variation for the answers from different participants.

Results and conclusion: Using language and pile-sorting data analysed through Principal Component Analysis, we show how both Zapotec and Cuicatec subjects place a particular emphasis on an intermediate level of classification.These categories group birds with non-birds using ecological and behavioral criteria, and violate a strict distinction between symbolic and mundane (or ‘natural’), and between ‘general-purpose’ and ‘single-purpose’ schemes. We suggest that shared classificatory knowledge embodying everyday schemes for apprehending the world of birds might be better reflected in a multidimensional model that would also provide a more realistic basis for developing culturally-informed conservation strategies.

Show MeSH
Classification of Penelope purpurascens according to different judgments.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4120933&req=5

Figure 7: Classification of Penelope purpurascens according to different judgments.

Mentions: We can also see how multi-dimensionality might be incorporated into theclassificatory knowledge of a single species, by referring to Figure 7. In this figure Penelope purpurascens (Crested Guan) isclassified together with other species depending on different judgments or contexts.These contexts are the basis for the formation of groups, and each group isrepresented in the figure as a cube, where each side of the cube represents onejudgment or context determining location in the same group. In the Zapotec andCuicatec ethnobiological worlds there exist as many cubes as there are ideas orqualities to locate the connections relating to species. It is useful to hypothesizehow an individual person, Zapotec or Cuicatec, thinks about the classificatoryaffinities of a particular bird species, uninfluenced by the professional concerns ofethnobiologists or conservation biologists. We might imagine that he or she has inmind a series of prototypical images, represented by the contents of each cube inFigure 7. But, as Figure 7shows, these prototypical images share similarities with other species, depending onthe judgments used to form the groups in those cubes. In this example, Penelopepurpurascens is presented in different ways, depending on the contents ofeach of the cubes. It is associated with cube 1 on the right hand side of the figureon the basis of colour. P. purpurascens is linked with the Crow (Corvuscorax-1a) and the Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus-1b)because they both have gloomy feathers, although P. purpurascens is alsolinked with the Emerald Toucan (Aulacorhynchus prasinus-2b) and theCommon Bush-tanager (Chlorospingus ophthalmicus-2b) in cube 2 since they canall be found together in the same habitat (Cloud Forest). At the same time, P.purpurascens can be placed with the Great Curassow (Crax rubra-3b)and the Long-tailed Wood-partridge (Dendrortyx macroura-3b) in cube 3 asthey all share a similar behaviour, in spending most of the time strutting around onthe forest floor, but at the same time gregarious. Finally, P. purpurascensis linked to the birds inside cube 4 due to similarities in the way in which thesespecies interact with people. All are regarded as ‘smart’, P.purpurascens, the Plain Chachalaca (Ortalis vetula-4b) and theMontezuma Quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae-4a) being perceived as difficult tocatch or see, escaping easily from a human presence. In turn, the theme of humaninteraction links the species, on the one hand in cube 4–1 with the Muscovyduck (Cairina moschata-4-1b) and the Red Billed Pigeon (Patagioenasflavirostris-4-1b) because all are edible, and on the other hand in cube4–2 with the Squirrel Cuckoo (Piaya cayana-4-2a) and Boucard’sWren’ (Campylorhynchus zonatus-4-2b) as Cuicatec omen animals.


Alternative ways of representing Zapotec and Cuicatec folk classification of birds: a multidimensional model and its implications for culturally-informed conservation in Oaxaca, México.

Alcántara-Salinas G, Ellen RF, Valiñas-Coalla L, Caballero J, Argueta-Villamar A - J Ethnobiol Ethnomed (2013)

Classification of Penelope purpurascens according to different judgments.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4120933&req=5

Figure 7: Classification of Penelope purpurascens according to different judgments.
Mentions: We can also see how multi-dimensionality might be incorporated into theclassificatory knowledge of a single species, by referring to Figure 7. In this figure Penelope purpurascens (Crested Guan) isclassified together with other species depending on different judgments or contexts.These contexts are the basis for the formation of groups, and each group isrepresented in the figure as a cube, where each side of the cube represents onejudgment or context determining location in the same group. In the Zapotec andCuicatec ethnobiological worlds there exist as many cubes as there are ideas orqualities to locate the connections relating to species. It is useful to hypothesizehow an individual person, Zapotec or Cuicatec, thinks about the classificatoryaffinities of a particular bird species, uninfluenced by the professional concerns ofethnobiologists or conservation biologists. We might imagine that he or she has inmind a series of prototypical images, represented by the contents of each cube inFigure 7. But, as Figure 7shows, these prototypical images share similarities with other species, depending onthe judgments used to form the groups in those cubes. In this example, Penelopepurpurascens is presented in different ways, depending on the contents ofeach of the cubes. It is associated with cube 1 on the right hand side of the figureon the basis of colour. P. purpurascens is linked with the Crow (Corvuscorax-1a) and the Cowbird (Molothrus aeneus-1b)because they both have gloomy feathers, although P. purpurascens is alsolinked with the Emerald Toucan (Aulacorhynchus prasinus-2b) and theCommon Bush-tanager (Chlorospingus ophthalmicus-2b) in cube 2 since they canall be found together in the same habitat (Cloud Forest). At the same time, P.purpurascens can be placed with the Great Curassow (Crax rubra-3b)and the Long-tailed Wood-partridge (Dendrortyx macroura-3b) in cube 3 asthey all share a similar behaviour, in spending most of the time strutting around onthe forest floor, but at the same time gregarious. Finally, P. purpurascensis linked to the birds inside cube 4 due to similarities in the way in which thesespecies interact with people. All are regarded as ‘smart’, P.purpurascens, the Plain Chachalaca (Ortalis vetula-4b) and theMontezuma Quail (Cyrtonyx montezumae-4a) being perceived as difficult tocatch or see, escaping easily from a human presence. In turn, the theme of humaninteraction links the species, on the one hand in cube 4–1 with the Muscovyduck (Cairina moschata-4-1b) and the Red Billed Pigeon (Patagioenasflavirostris-4-1b) because all are edible, and on the other hand in cube4–2 with the Squirrel Cuckoo (Piaya cayana-4-2a) and Boucard’sWren’ (Campylorhynchus zonatus-4-2b) as Cuicatec omen animals.

Bottom Line: Post-fieldwork, Principal Component Analysis using NTSYSpc V. 2.11f was applied to obtain pattern variation for the answers from different participants.Using language and pile-sorting data analysed through Principal Component Analysis, we show how both Zapotec and Cuicatec subjects place a particular emphasis on an intermediate level of classification.These categories group birds with non-birds using ecological and behavioral criteria, and violate a strict distinction between symbolic and mundane (or ‘natural’), and between ‘general-purpose’ and ‘single-purpose’ schemes.We suggest that shared classificatory knowledge embodying everyday schemes for apprehending the world of birds might be better reflected in a multidimensional model that would also provide a more realistic basis for developing culturally-informed conservation strategies.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Centro Regional de Investigaciones Multidisciplinarias, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, UNAM, Av, Universidad s/n, circuito, Colonia Chamilpa, Campus Morelos, Cuernavaca, Morelos C,P, 62210, Mexico. ga63@kentforlife.net.

ABSTRACT

Background: We report on a comparative ethno-ornithological study of Zapotec and Cuicatec communities in Northern Oaxaca, Mexico that provided a challenge to some existing descriptions of folk classification. Our default model was the taxonomic system of ranks developed by Brent Berlin.

Methods: Fieldwork was conducted in the Zapotec village of San Miguel Tiltepec and in the Cuicatec village of San Juan Teponaxtla, using a combination of ethnographic interviews and pile-sorting tests. Post-fieldwork, Principal Component Analysis using NTSYSpc V. 2.11f was applied to obtain pattern variation for the answers from different participants.

Results and conclusion: Using language and pile-sorting data analysed through Principal Component Analysis, we show how both Zapotec and Cuicatec subjects place a particular emphasis on an intermediate level of classification.These categories group birds with non-birds using ecological and behavioral criteria, and violate a strict distinction between symbolic and mundane (or ‘natural’), and between ‘general-purpose’ and ‘single-purpose’ schemes. We suggest that shared classificatory knowledge embodying everyday schemes for apprehending the world of birds might be better reflected in a multidimensional model that would also provide a more realistic basis for developing culturally-informed conservation strategies.

Show MeSH