Robert Sinensky

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, Los Angeles, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 9577

Approve Date

October 13, 2017

Project Title

Sinensky, Robert J., U. of California, Los Angeles, CA - To aid research on 'Niche Construction and Common Pool Resource Management in Marginal Environments: A Diachronic Approach,' supervised by Dr. Gregson Schachner

Anthropologists have long been concerned with the immense variety of collective institutions developed by small-scale societies to foster solidarity, inculcate values, and manage resources. Long-term studies tracking the development and maintenance of such institutions would greatly benefit a range of social science disciplines, but are unfortunately rare. To this end, the proposed project will track the development and maintenance of land tenure arrangements in small-scale, early agricultural societies in the Puerco region of the American Southwest immediately prior to and following the development of sedentary villages. It achieves this goal by comparing and contrasting the settlement patterns, mobility strategies, and foodways of groups occupying lower population density areas considered marginal for maize agriculture with those of groups in population dense productive locales. Drawing on collective action theory, and niche construction theory, it is predicted that productive locales were occupied by less mobile homogenous groups that sought to maintain control over resources by restricting access exclusively to community members. Conversely, nearby low population marginal areas are expected to be occupied by socially and economically diverse mobile populations that permitted outsiders to access resources. Such an arrangement would have required mutually agreed upon rules to ensure that local populations with long-term interests and outsiders with short term interests did not come into conflict. By taking a long-term comparative perspective this project seeks to observe the process by which distinct property management arrangements were forged, maintained, and transformed.