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Key words
hunter/gatherer peoples, the Aboriginal Australia, the Paliyar, different ways of social evolution
About the Author
About the author: е-mail:

Tel.: +7 (495) 954 76 36;

Leninsky Prospect 32 a, 119991 Moscow, Russian Federation;

Full Professor (History), Professor, Research Fellow, the Institute of Ethnology and

Anthropology, Russian Academy of Sciences; Deputy Director of t h e Center of Social

Anthropology, the Russian State University for Humanities.

The article represents the results of long-term study aimed at understanding the R commonalities and diversities in the social systems of a number of hunter/gatherer peoples as they are reflected in professional ethnological (socio-anthropological) literature. The cultures of the Paliyar people of South India and some traditional societies of the Aboriginal Australia are compared by the author with a special theoretical interest. The author shows that those cultures differed from each other greatly in social organization, stereotypes of communication and spirituality. She argues that cultures under consideration are not only alternative with regard to the systems based on productive economies but also with regard to each other. Even having fundamentally similar modes of subsistence those societies followed different ways in their evolution. The author of the article is attracted to the thoughts of Korotaev, Kradin and Lynsha, according to whom humanity from the very beginning of its history had "unlimited number of evolutionary alternatives" and "choices in concrete historical circumstances were made by societies themselves". Of course, one could perceive these words as a sort of personification of societies implying, what is more, consistency of aims on their part (as if they could have clear aims for a long-range outlook), which is unrealistic and evidently was not meant by the scholars mentioned above. However, it seems to be absolutely obvious, argues the author of the article, that reasonably acting and determined individuals, associated in groups, did make historical choices for short-range perspectives and did that deliberately, generation after generation.


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