Essay one: Analysis of Zapotec Classification





Essay one: Analysis of Zapotec Classification

Zapotecs of Oaxaca are communities of farmers who have continuously pursued cultivation of maize, beans, squash and other crops from more than half a decade. Their maize breeding techniques has been described as the most remarkable breeding of all time judging from its propagation and improvement over the years. They base their classification of the natural world on a traditional classification method. This mode of classification represents intellectual mode of action in cultures worldwide. This generates specific conceptions of nature, collective learning and customs beliefs that are components in specific society. The analysis of the principles of Zapotec classification and my own classification will outline the major differences and similarities thereby providing concise information on whether Zapotec classification of natural world is grounded on principles of classification.

The course of thought in naming Zapotec plants is founded on three characteristics; Linguistic, morphological and ecological terms. Out of the recorded 757 plant names, 67% are in Zapotec lingua while remainder has a combination of both Zapotec and Spanish terms. They are grouped in hierarchical order based on their specific generic morphology, life form and varied categories. Compare to the undisputed method of classification, which is biological classification. It is appropriate to state that the two models differ. In biological classification, the most fundamental attributes of this classification are homologous features that are inherited from a common ancestry. These features denote the fact that the plants have a close genetic affiliation. It is justified to assert that Zapotec mode of classifications is based on traditional knowledge of the local people that is generated their close interaction between them and their environment through day-to-day use and maintenance of indigenous reserves and constructive process.

Another striking disparity in both models is the linguistic component. In biological classification, living things are accorded two names, this system is known as the Binomial Nomenclature. The Latin language is employed in naming living organisms. The first part of the name conveys the genus and the second, the species. For instance, the botanical name for the maize plant is Zea mays. In Zapotec classification, the maize is termed as Nzob pint. The language used in naming is Zapotec or Spanish. The two classification models also differ in classification of animals. In Zapotec, it is based on locomotion, size, habitat behavior and similarities to other animals. For example, animals without legs are termed as Mani pela whereas those that are ferocious are called Mani peche. Classification basing on the behavioral characteristics differs greatly compared to the biological classification that bases classification of animals depending on their ancestry and anatomical similarities


Essay two:  Zapotec as an apolitical ecology

They disparity between the contextual approach and the more traditional way of viewing problems is the difference between political and apolitical ecology is the difference between identifying broader systems rather than blaming proximate and local A political thinking is defined as the view that decisions and behaviour of individuals is free from intimidation, suggestion, influence and exploitation. It is based on focusing on their free choices, the need to assign culture a leading role in understanding group behaviour, inclination to think that human actions are relative to the impact of non-human actors, objects and animals and being predisposed to think of economic activities and behaviour of firms as meeting consumer demand.

Apolitical ecology states that people make individual choices. In the Zapotec science, Gonzalez states that the Zapotecs have concepts that govern their mode of living. The first concept is mantenimiento, a Spanish term to mean maintenance (10). In relation to apolitical ecology, the zapotecs make individual decisions in regards to their farming practices. They have to meet the needs of their families and still leave the land fallow to avoid it being overtaxed. In a political mindset, the farmers are expected to exploit, the land fully regardless of maintenance for maximum crop yield equated to growth models in developmental planning where economic grow this realized through profit maximization (Gonzalez 15).

Another concept is personification of non-human and supernatural actors. The Zapotecs believe that inanimate objects such as the earth are beings with feelings and emotions. They believe the earth is a willing being who feels pain when her surface is cut open (Gonzalez 17). In efforts to appease her, sacrifices and rituals are performed to evade punishment. These personified entities differ immensely among modern cosmopolitan scientists who view willingness and intentionality as choices made solely by human beings. Animals, plants, soil and forests are viewed as commodities or capital.

The Zapotecs value their occupation, which enables them to be hardworking and resilient. These virtues are instilled in their off springs at a tender age. The children are taught form a tender age how to collect firewood and complete household duties. This is contrary to the notion of modern day economists who view hard work as distasteful and support the idealism of liberation of humankind from manual labor. A prediction made by Karl Max suggested that technology and automation would one day render manual labor obsolete.

In conclusion, the Zapotec science is founded on apolitical ecology. It focuses on traditional fundamental aspects based on its culture. They are aware of their situation better than foreign people are and deeply rooted to their cultural customs and tradition that has shaped them into a zealous productive community. They assign culture as the guideline on how they conduct their lives. In addition, they believe in the role-play of innate objects that have an impact on their day-to-day activities.





Works Cited

Robbin, Paul. Political ecology:  a critical introduction. Malden: Blackwell Pub, 2004. Print.

Gonzalez, Roberto. Zapotec science: farming and food in the Northern Sierra of Oaxaca. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2001. Print.


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