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Ethnology

(1,248 words)

Author(s): Elwert, Georg
1. Terms and Tasks Ethnology crystallized out of older, 19th-century research into the academic discipline of describing nonliterate cultures. The Greek word ethnos shows that the reference is to tribes and not to nation-states. Modern ethnology no longer sees anything disparaging in this emphasis. On the contrary, anthropological relativism questions the thesis of the superiority of European and American cultures. In the German sphere ethnology has, on the one hand, a more comprehensive orientation with a strong his…

Hunger

(1,196 words)

Author(s): Elwert, Georg
The term “hunger” denotes a shortage of nourishment that, if it lasts, can lead to death. Hunger crises persist in the Third World, even with all the socioeconomic development of the recent decades (of which crises the public seems now generally more aware). Natural causes of hunger like drought are overestimated. In the past, farming structures and systems were better able to cope with cyclic changes in natural conditions. At the beginning of the 21st century, Bread for the World estimates the …

Development

(3,118 words)

Author(s): Elwert, Georg | Hoppe, Günter | Schweitzer, Friedrich
1. Socioeconomic Development Descriptively, the term “development” denotes historical changes made to produce the form of society desired by its members; normatively, it denotes the structural changes made toward this goal. Whether the development or its basic mechanisms represent progress in some absolute sense is immaterial. In the normative sense, socioeconomic developments are the processes that can bring a poor society closer to its desired form. Politically, various indicators stand in the fo…

Property

(6,503 words)

Author(s): Elwert, Georg | Frick, Frank S. | Meggitt, Justin J. | Honecker, Martin | Hezser, Catherine | Et al.
[German Version] I. Religious Studies Property ownership is a social convention that allows and restricts access to physical or socially constructed objects and links that access with certain obligations. In many societies, the obligations of and restrictions on use, especially in connection with land, are managed by a separate supervisory office. Such an office can be vested in a priest, as in the Tobriand Islands or the West African institution of the “landlord.” There are many things that can be …