Spooner, Brian

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Now showing 1 - 10 of 53
  • Publication
    Baluchistan: Geography, History, and Ethnography
    (1988) Spooner, Brian
    This article is divided into the following sections: 1. introductory review of problems in the history and ethnography of the Baluch, i.e., the present-day inhabitants of Baluchistan; 2. geography; 3. the origins of the Balōč, i.e., the people who brought the name into the area; 4. the early history of the area between Iran and India (Baluchistan); 5. the eastward migrations of the Balōč; 6. the establishment of the khanate in Kalat; 7. the autonomous khanate, 1666-1839; 8. the period of British dominance, 1839-1947; 9. the Baluch in Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan since 1947; 10. the diaspora; 11. ethnography. [Note: place names in Pakistan have not been transliterated.]
  • Publication
    The MAB Approach: Problems, Clarifications and a Proposal
    (1984) Spooner, Brian
    Despite MAB's general success in promoting research on ecological problems from various points of view, the goal of integration still seems beyond reach. To the degree that integration has worked it has invariably involved the domination of one scientific discipline over others that could be persuaded to cooperate - especially of natural over social sciences - both in definition of research design and in formulation of questions. This problem derives partly from the relative scarcity of social scientists professionally interested in ecological problems, but also from the fact that social science comprehends a variety of approaches, based on different assumptions, all equally valid, leading to different but complementary results. A closer look at the variety and complementarity of a selection of different social science approaches suggests a promising model for the future development of the MAB Programme in the 1980s, which would take it closer to the goals it had previously sought through integration, and also towards the goal of improved communication and application of research findings. Not only the various social science approaches and different natural science approaches, but also the approaches of the other relevant actors-planners, politicians, extension workers, and, especially private (i.e. local) people -must be seen as complementary from the initial stage of the definition of the research problem through to the synthesis and application of the results. In this way, not only will the social sciences be effectively integrated into MAB but the more important goal of communication and application will also be assured.
  • Publication
    Insiders and Outsiders in Baluchistan: Western and Indigenous Perspectives on Ecology and Development
    (1992) Spooner, Brian
    We have generally become used to the idea that ethnographers are a part of what they study. They live in the community they study and participate in the events and (ideally) in the social and cultural processes which they analyze and interpret. They cannot stand either theoretically or methodologically outside what they study - even though we do not perhaps all of us always manage to follow through with the implications of this condition. The evolutionary ecologist knows implicitly that his professional activity, like all other human activity, takes place within the evolutionary process. But this orientation towards his subject matter tends to be very different from that of the ethnographer. Other investigators, and particularly economists and development planners, study unequivocally from without - they translate the laboratory-objectivity tradition of Western scientific method into the field. The growing emphasis on popular participation in development planning and implementation draws attention to these differences of orientation. In this chapter a case from Baluchistan will illustrate the significance of the difference.
  • Publication
    Iranian Kinship and Marriage
    (1966) Spooner, Brian
    This paper is an attempt to distinguish and discuss the Iranian (as distinct from the Turkish, Arabic and Islamic) elements in the present pattern of kinship and marriage practice in Persia in their historical context. This will entail also a discussion of what can be known of the pre-Islamic Iranian system.
  • Publication
    Nomadism in Baluchistan
    (1975) Spooner, Brian
    Baluchistan as the Baluch define it includes most of West Pakistan west of the Indus, the southwest corner of Afghanistan, and the southeastern province of Persia, and Baluch minorities are also to be found scattered far to the north of this area as far as Soviet Turkmenistan. However, this vast area has never constituted any sort of unit, except in a vague cultural and linguistic sense.
  • Publication
    Ecology in Development: A Rationale for Three-Dimensional Policy
    (1984) Spooner, Brian
    This combination of theoretical, topical and geographical focus integrates the social and natural science approaches to problems of ecology in development in South-west Asia. Permits coherent treatment, in an argument of reasonable length, of (1) some of the major areas of accumulation of ecological knowledge and insight in relation to development, (2) the changes of emphasis in ecological interests among planners, (3) the development and integration of theory (especially the efforts to straddle the boundaries of sociological and ecological understanding), (4) the changing perceptions of man's relation to nature, and (5) the underlying moral problems of management and welfare. The changes of orientation in each of these arenas over the last decade are treated below not simply as another stage of progress to confirm our faith in the perfectibility of man, but as a function of a larger historical process of increasing awareness and communication, the beginnings of which would have to be sought at least as far back as the Industrial Revolution.
  • Publication
    Continuity and Change in Rural Iran: The Eastern Deserts
    (1971) Spooner, Brian
    Professional ethnography did not enter Iran until the late fifties. For a variety of reasons which are largely non-Iranian and non-anthropological the anthropologists who have worked in Iran since then have concentrated their attention on pastoral nomads, and little work of any anthropological significance has been done in the village sector of Iranian society. My general interest in the historical ecology of the desert areas of eastern Iran led me to embark in the summer of 1969 on a series of preliminary studies of oasis village communities. This essay relies on the data collected in two short seasons1 and a long familiarity with the Iranian deserts in general. Small isolated settlements in eastern Iran are of course in no way representative of Iranian villages in general. However the fascination of the deserts for a fieldworker interested in social processes lies in the immense distances and the low density of population. Problems which are difficult to isolate in the more typical areas of relatively high population density may be exposed in simple relief in the deserts. The solutions may of course not be the same. At this stage I am suggesting only that what can be extrapolated from the results of preliminary studies in the east may prove valuable in future studies of more typical and more densely populated areas of the country. Because these villages are so isolated modern types of change have been slow to reach them and such mod-em processes of change that have touched them are easier to isolate.
  • Publication
    Review of R.B. Thomas, Human Adaptation to a High Andean Energy Flow System
    (1976-09-01) Spooner, Brian
    This is a review of R.B. Thomas' Human Adaptation to a High Andean Energy Flow System (1973).
  • Publication
    Towards a Generative Model of Nomadism
    (1971-07-01) Spooner, Brian
    The anthropological study of nomadism should be approached via cultural ecology and by the generative method. A preliminary generative model is presented, consisting of a series of seven rules. The first five are derived from the literature and are concerned with group formation. The last two are proposed by the writer with a view to making the articulation between group formation, social ecology and social organisation.
  • Publication
    (1982) Spooner, Brian
    Although dry farming is important in Azerbaijan, Kurdistan, and Khorasan, as well as some other districts, a large proportion of Iran’s agriculture has always depended upon irrigation. Approximately half the annual grain crop, and an overwhelming proportion of other crops, are irrigated. With the exception of the Caspian littoral almost the whole of Iran is classified as semi-arid or arid. As is characteristic of lands under this classification, precipitation is generally not only scanty (most of the country has an average of less than 400 mm per year) and poorly distributed through the year, but irregular and unreliable. Irrigation affords not only the necessary soil moisture for productive agriculture, but the regularity and dependability of agricultural production that facilitates settled life and allows the development of large settled populations. Given the availability of refillable and accessible water sources, especially in combination with soil deposits of good quality, irrigation technologies can greatly increase the productivity and carrying capacity of the land. However, the use of these technologies imposes social and economic conditions on the populations that become dependent on them. Irrigation has played an important role in Iranian history and civilization. It involves factors that are significant in the development of settlement pattern and morphology, in the socioeconomic relations of agricultural activities, in the political processes and legal formulations that are based on these relations, and in the associated linguistic, symbolic, and ritual forms of activity that evolve in the cultural elaboration of them.