Roy Ellen - Author

About the Author

Books by Roy Ellen

On the Edge of the Banda Zone Past and Present in the Social Organization of a Moluccan Trading Network

On the Edge of the Banda Zone Past and Present in the Social Organization of a Moluccan Trading Network

Author: Roy Ellen Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/08/2018

The impact of the Indonesian spice trade on global and, more particularly, European history has been widely acknowledged. This study focuses an anthropological lens on the dynamics of trade in a specific area: that incorporating the Seram Laut and Gorom archipelagos (and the adjacent mainland) or east Seram, in the Moluccas. The point of departure for Roy Ellen's analysis is a description of trade relations in the east Seram zone between 1970 and 1990, but the wider importance of the data presented here is apparent: for 500 years (and probably much longer), it has served as a corridor between Eurasia and the southwestern Pacific and played a vital role in the production and distribution of nutmeg and other high-value commodities that have for centuries had an impact on the global economy. The islands themselves are minute and fragile ecosystems, ultimately dependent on the local networks of which they are a part and on the long-distance trade that has bound them to mainland Asia and beyond. Drawing on the author's fieldwork as well as archival and secondary sources, this eclectic volume demonstrates the enduring continuities in the local system as it comes into contact with the changing outside world. It illuminates how barter, ecological and ethnic divisions of labour, exchange patterns, and the organization of trade between the peoples of the New Guinea coast and eastern Seram, help us make sense of long-term cycles and trends. The text not only provides readers with a production-end account of the spice trade and an ethnography of a culturally distinctive part of Indonesia, but also forces us to rethink conventional approaches to the study of trade and the relationship between island Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

Understanding Cultural Transmission in Anthropology A Critical Synthesis

Understanding Cultural Transmission in Anthropology A Critical Synthesis

Author: Roy Ellen Format: Hardback Release Date: 25/09/2013

The concept of cultural transmission is central to much contemporary anthropological theory, since successful human reproduction through social systems is essential for effective survival and for enhancing the adaptiveness of individual humans and local populations. Yet, what is understood by the phrase and how it might best be studied is highly contested. This book brings together contributions that reflect the current diversity of approaches - from the fields of biology, primatology, palaeoanthropology, psychology, social anthropology, ethnobiology, and archaeology - to examine social and cultural transmission from a range of perspectives and at different scales of generalization. The comprehensive introduction explores some of the problems and connections. Overall, the book provides a timely synthesis of current accounts of cultural transmission in relation to cognitive process, practical action, and local socio-ecological context, while linking these with explanations of longer-term evolutionary trajectories.

Understanding Cultural Transmission in Anthropology A Critical Synthesis

Understanding Cultural Transmission in Anthropology A Critical Synthesis

Author: Roy Ellen Format: Paperback Release Date: 19/09/2013

The concept of cultural transmission is central to much contemporary anthropological theory, since successful human reproduction through social systems is essential for effective survival and for enhancing the adaptiveness of individual humans and local populations. Yet, what is understood by the phrase and how it might best be studied is highly contested. This book brings together contributions that reflect the current diversity of approaches - from the fields of biology, primatology, palaeoanthropology, psychology, social anthropology, ethnobiology, and archaeology - to examine social and cultural transmission from a range of perspectives and at different scales of generalization. The comprehensive introduction explores some of the problems and connections. Overall, the book provides a timely synthesis of current accounts of cultural transmission in relation to cognitive process, practical action, and local socio-ecological context, while linking these with explanations of longer-term evolutionary trajectories.

Modern Crises and Traditional Strategies Local Ecological Knowledge in Island Southeast Asia

Modern Crises and Traditional Strategies Local Ecological Knowledge in Island Southeast Asia

Author: Roy Ellen Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/03/2011

Probably more than any other British anthropologist, Roy Ellen is associated with the study of ethnobiology; his has also long ranked among the leading names in the field ...Both readers new to Ellen as well as those already familiar with his work will find this collection rewarding. American Anthropologist The 1990s have seen a growing interest in the role of local ecological knowledge in the context of sustainable development, and particularly in providing a set of responses to which populations may resort in times of political, economic and environmental instability. The period 1996-2003 in island southeast Asia represents a critical test case for understanding how this might work. The key issues to be explored in this book will be the creation, erosion and transmission of ecological knowledge, and hybridization between traditional and scientifically based knowledge, amongst populations facing environmental stress (e.g. 1997 El Nino), political conflict and economic hazards. The book will also evaluate positive examples of how traditional knowledge has enabled local populations to cope with these kinds of insecurity.

The Categorical Impulse Essays on the Anthropology of Classifying Behaviour

The Categorical Impulse Essays on the Anthropology of Classifying Behaviour

Author: Roy Ellen Format: Paperback Release Date: 16/04/2008

Classification, as an object of recent anthropological scrutiny came to prominence during the 1960s, exemplified in the British (constructionist) tradition by the writings of Mary Douglas, and in the American ethno-semantics (cognitive) tradition by the likes of Harold Conklin and Brent Berlin. At the time, these approaches seemed by turns to contradict each other, or even to exist in parallel universes. However, over the last 30 years we have witnessed both a renewed interest in classification studies as well as a cross-fertilization of these once antagonistic approaches. These essays by one of leading scholars in this field bring together a body of influential and inter-linked work which attempts to bridge the divide between cultural and cognitive studies of classification, and which develops a more embedded and processual approach. In particular, the essays focus on people's categorization of natural kinds as a means through which to obtain an understanding of how classifying behavior in general works, engaging with the ideas of both anthropologists and psychologists. The theoretical background is set out in an entirely new and substantial introduction, which also provides a comprehensive and systematic review of developments in cognitive and social anthropology since 1960 as these have impacted on classification studies. In short, it constitutes a useful and approachable introduction to its subject. Roy Ellen was educated at the London School of Economics and is Professor of Anthropology and Human Ecology at the University of Kent at Canterbury, where he has taught since 1973. His numerous and varied publications include Environment, Subsistence and System (1982), The Cultural Relations of Classification (1993), and most recently, On the Edge of the Banda Zone (2003).

Modern Crises and Traditional Strategies Local Ecological Knowledge in Island Southeast Asia

Modern Crises and Traditional Strategies Local Ecological Knowledge in Island Southeast Asia

Author: Roy Ellen Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/04/2007

The 1990s have seen a growing interest in the role of local ecological knowledge in the context of sustainable development, and particularly in providing a set of responses to which populations may resort in times of political, economic and environmental instability. The period 1996-2003 in island southeast Asia represents a critical test case for understanding how this might work. The key issues to be explored in this book will be the creation, erosion and transmission of ecological knowledge, and hybridization between traditional and scientifically-based knowledge, amongst populations facing environmental stress (e.g. 1997 El Nino), political conflict and economic hazards. The book will also evaluate positive examples of how traditional knowledge has enabled local populations to cope with these kinds of insecurity.

Ethnobiology and the Science of Humankind

Ethnobiology and the Science of Humankind

Author: Roy Ellen Format: Paperback Release Date: 08/09/2006

Part of The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute Special Issue Book Series, this landmark volume assesses the contribution of recent work in ethnobiology to anthropological thought. * Considers the ways in which the subject matter and methodologies of ethnobiological research address core anthropological questions. * Contributors explore a wide range of themes, such as our understanding of those processes which transform the environment, and the evolution of the cultural mind. * Addresses anthropological issues of general interest, from biology to reflexivity. * Helps to develop the productive relationship between ethnobiology and anthropology.

The Categorical Impulse Essays on the Anthropology of Classifying Behavior

The Categorical Impulse Essays on the Anthropology of Classifying Behavior

Author: Roy Ellen Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/12/2005

Classification, as an object of recent anthropological scrutiny came to prominence during the 1960s, exemplified in the British (constructionist) tradition by the writings of Mary Douglas, and in the American ethno-semantics (cognitive) tradition by the likes of Harold Conklin and Brent Berlin. At the time, these approaches seemed by turns to contradict each other, or even to exist in parallel universes. However, over the last 30 years we have witnessed both a renewed interest in classification studies as well as a cross-fertilization of these once antagonistic approaches. These essays by one of leading scholars in this field bring together a body of influential and inter-linked work which attempts to bridge the divide between cultural and cognitive studies of classification, and which develops a more embedded and processual approach. In particular, the essays focus on people's categorization of natural kinds as a means through which to obtain an understanding of how classifying behavior in general works, engaging with the ideas of both anthropologists and psychologists. The theoretical background is set out in an entirely new and substantial introduction, which also provides a comprehensive and systematic review of developments in cognitive and social anthropology since 1960 as these have impacted on classification studies. In short, it constitutes a useful and approachable introduction to its subject.

Redefining Nature Ecology, Culture and Domestication

Redefining Nature Ecology, Culture and Domestication

Author: Roy Ellen Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/04/1996

- How can anthropology improve our understanding of the interrelationship between nature and culture?- What can anthropology contribute to practical debates which depend on particular definitions of nature, such as that concerning sustainable development?Humankind has evolved over several million years by living in and utilizing 'nature' and by assimilating it into 'culture'. Indeed, the technological and cultural advancement of the species has been widely acknowledged to rest upon human domination and control of nature. Yet, by the 1960s, the idea of culture in confrontation with nature was being challenged by science, philosophy and the environmental movement. Anthropology is increasingly concerned with such issues as they become more urgent for humankind as a whole. This important book reviews the current state of the concepts of 'nature' we use, both as scientific devices and ideological constructs, and is organised around three themes:- nature as a cultural construction;- the cultural management of the environment; and- relations between plants, animals and humans.

Ethnographic Research A Guide to General Conduct

Ethnographic Research A Guide to General Conduct

Author: Roy Ellen Format: Paperback Release Date: 28/01/1987

Ethnographic Research: A Guide to General Conduct is the first in the ASA Research Methods series. This volume is about ethnographic research, the production of data, and the practical aspects of research practice. It is general and introductory in scope. Designed as a handbook, it is suitable for rapid reference. It provides basic outlines on general practical matters of concern to all those engaged in ethnographic research, introduces the series as a whole, and serves as a guide to existing literature on issues not specifically covered by the more specialized volumes which follow.

Environment, Subsistence and System The Ecology of Small-Scale Social Formations

Environment, Subsistence and System The Ecology of Small-Scale Social Formations

Author: Roy Ellen Format: Paperback Release Date: 30/09/1982

Human ecology is ultimately part of a general theory of society. This is the argument developed here by Roy Ellen, whose exploration of the interplay between social organization and ecology in small-scale subsistence systems has direct bearings both on the investigation of human environmental relations in general and on contemporary social theory. He argues that while ecological study of non-industrial societies cannot be elevated to the status of theory, domain or discipline, it can be represented as a single 'problematic' that historically has acquired some degree of autonomy and which continues to make a significant contribution to a wider anthropology. Dr Ellen introduces his subject matter through an extended and systematic discussion of some major frameworks developed within the last hundred years to examine and explain facets of the relationship between culture, social organization and the environment: determinism, possibilism, cultural ecology, systems theory and ideas derived from modern biology. He follows this with a detailed review and appraisal of important recent research involving the use of ecological models, methods and data. This original and innovative study of the pre-eminently social character of human ecological relations will be of considerable interest to all students and researchers concerned with understanding the nature of the relationship between human beings and their environments.