Ethnocentrism and some tips on how to minimize it.

The ability of a community or individual to minimize ethnocentrism and its impacts is one of the key platforms towards greater cooperation, adherence to the existing laws, holistic contribution by all and eventual economic growth and development in a country.  Minimizing ethnocentrism has been referred as the main principle that could facilitate a new outline towards a highly democratic society at the local and national level.  Kornblum conclusion that the need to address ethnocentrism requires holistic involvement at all levels appears to cohere with those of Victor who indicates that it is the dark cloud of ethnocentrism that has over the years suppressed the ability of the people to progress.  However, analysts appear divided over the actual methods that could be employed in addressing the problem.   It is from this consideration that this paper provides an in-depth analysis of the tips that could be used to address the problem of ethnocentrism.

A brief analysis of ethnocentrism in the society
Perhaps Diana  was correct when he indicated that a society will never be successful until it addresses fully the problem of ethnocentrism among its communities.  Ethnocentrism as Diana further indicates is the tendency of a culture to consider itself to be superior in comparison to others.  As a result, the members of that cultural affiliation view themselves to be better, more advanced and even more important in the country.  Owing to this peculiar alignment, a group develops specific standards that are mostly used to define it from others and use it as the main platform for judging others.  Ethnocentrism has especially been evident in relation to behaviors, religion and even the key customs that define the identity of a group at the extended community level.  At this point, analysts tend to wonder why indeed a group would disregard others and holistically undermine the need for diversity In his assimilation theory, Ezra Park Robert indicated that people are born to specific cultures that define their ideals of what they belief and become.  As a result, ethnocentrism is seen to dwell among the people in that it easily recurs even between generations and cannot therefore be fully eliminated.  At this point, some key questions often asked include is it possible to fully eliminate the problem of ethnocentrism  Is the fight against the vice intensive enough

Cases of ethnocentrism manifestation
Up to date, most of the United States foreigners have been referred to as aliens and therefore formed the center for their discrimination both in the society and office.  As if that is not enough, the trial to infer balance between the black and the white community has remained a hard nut to crack for the government and human rights activists. However, it is the resilience of wars between religious facts that has remained a thorn in the fresh for long.  In the Middle East, Gil-White indicates that both Muslims and Christian consider themselves be superior and therefore invoke major conflicts in the region.  Further on religion, Victor  accuses the followers advocating water while they take wine by failing to adhere to doctrines of brotherliness and  care for others as advocated for by Christ, Gautama and Mohammed in Islam.  
Due to the widespread inculcation of ethnocentrism at all levels the rising numbers of Indian students being killed in Australian universities is not surprising.  Foley reports that most Indian students studying in Australia are considered outsiders and therefore not supposed to enjoy similar benefits with the members of the country.  The call by the government on the Australians to shun ethnocentrism has landed on deaf ears since 2005.
Tips towards minimizing ethnocentrism
Though it has been cited as one of the main detrimental society shenanigans, Gross (2004) explains that it can only be reduced to give way to a new cultural outlook.  Therefore, efforts have been focused particularly on the minority groups and communities to facilitate their ability to assimilate a new stand point while setting a platform for their acceptance. 

Reducing differences in cultures of the minority and other dominant groups
According to Andersen and Howard, communities must seek to facilitate integrative cohesion in their cultures that define internal operations.  Cultures act as the core outline towards a given community assimilation of as particular trend.  Therefore, communities derive their identity from the cultural underpinnings that requires to factor new outsets if ethnocentrism is to be effectively addressed.  At this point, there is need for cultural interaction between the dominant groups culture and those of the minority groups.  In his view, Victor explains that though the assimilation theory has largely been referred by many in harmonizing the cultures, it is faulty in that it seeks to create a new trend in the community.  The key theme in addressing ethnocentrism indeed lay on the need to appreciate the key positive cultural outsets and invoking their position in the community as opposed to creating a new cultural outfit.  At this point, the key stakeholders and possibly people with influential outset such as community leaders should come in to create the need for assimilation of some key principles towards their cultural improvements.  Giving the example of the Blacks and Latinos and whites in the United States, closing up their difference has been cited to invoke higher levels of creativity in the work places, sports and in their economic outlook such as the media industry.  

Removal of key barriers that could have been set by the dominant group
Ethnocentrism from its very definition denotes key barriers that people from minority groups face in their daily activities.  In his famous speech I have a dream, Martin Luther King Junior indicated that he dreamt of the day when the Blacks and the Whites would have equal access to the countries resources.  During this time and indeed even today, most of the Black and Latino communities have remained barred from accessing major resources such as parks and even employments.  Removal of such barriers therefore requires a high profile intervention both at the local and national level.  The government has under this consideration strongly come in to create a platform for removal of such barriers.  Legislations such as No Child Left Behind have sought to give all the children an equal platform in access to better education for all. Other legislations such as Americans with Disability Act of 1990 seek to ensure that people from all social groups are able to not only integrate with others effectively, but incorporate their ideals in at the management level.   

Facilitate effective skills acquisition by the minority groups
Cognitive development in an individual as Gil-White  indicates is progressive and cumulative at different levels.  Ethnocentrism and dominance of specific cultures has been linked to poor capacity of the minority groups in addressing the different societal issues.  As a result, Albert Bandura in his theory of cognitive development concluded that the people must be presented with the correct environment that can facilitate their in-depth understanding of the community.  At the younger ages, children should be subjected to effective and highly relevant education system that prepares them not only to work with diverse cultures, but generate effective platforms for performing even the tasks at higher management levels. This consideration would create the necessary quest to work at the high offices by people from all cultures.

To further facilitate effective acquisition of critical skills in the society, Mark (2000) argues that the minority groups should be aided through legislation in checking possible resistance of the dominant culture while economic empowerment would give them the needed force to push for such skills.  However, this application should be designed with great care to invoke the need for improvement by the minority group while creating a welcoming note for the dominant group.

Creating awareness and capacity building in the society
While the problem of ethnocentrism appears to be deeply rooted in peoples operating systems, it no doubt that majority of them are brought up with strong rigidity that does not allow effective comparison for various cultures.   Creating awareness therefore brings to cognizance the existence of other cultures and their particular considerations.  Gifford argues that once people are made cognizant of other cultures existence, they are encouraged to further extrapolate their ideals for enrichment.  However, Andersen and Howard, indicate that most of the dominant cultures seek to learn about others as a platform for increasing their supremacy.

Through awareness creation either through the media or other means in the society, some fears previously held by different cultural group members are eliminated.  To begin with, most dominant cultures disregard the minority cultures under the consideration that their characteristics poorly fit and operate in areas such as leadership.  Gifford adds that awareness creating that portrays both culture members working together creates a different image and establishes a new perception to those at the lower levels.  The media at this point is charged with the responsibility of reminding and persuading the community on the need for tolerance for other peoples ideals.

Awareness creation as Diana view it, should seek to infer the need for a stronger outline at the community level where cultural diversity is encouraged.  Therefore, people should be made to appreciate their cultures which indeed harbors unique characteristics not present to others.  According to pluralism theories of Nathan Glazer and Daniel Moynihan, the ability of different cultures to cohere together must be based on their diversity as opposed to creation of a new hybrid consideration. Under this consideration therefore, people must be constantly made to appreciate their own ideals while factoring the demands of others.  As it happens in the professional realms, where people work together in achieving common goals despite their cultural affiliation, similar awareness must be established at the community level too.  While seconding the same outlook, Gross (2004) indicates that a diverse culture facilitate varying viewpoints towards establishing major alternatives to solutions of societal and organizational issues. 

Economic empowerment
While critically evaluating the problem of ethnocentrism, Gross argued that addressing it should largely be considered from an economic outset.  The very reference of minority cultures or groups invokes a sense of poor social economic overtone that restricts their ability to move up the social economic hierarchy towards the top.  Therefore, the manifestation and outlay of ethnocentrism is a paradox in that demanding the people at the top to reflect their own cultures and those of the minority groups is indeed hard.  Kornblum argues that through economic empowerment, the minority groups and their representative cultures become easily represented in important developments and societal demands.  The passing into law of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act largely sought to protect possible bias towards people of a given group or culture in employment.  Such laws are critical in that they reduce possible sense of inferiority for the minority groups and their cultures.  Though some analysts indicate that such laws may present possible crashes between the dominant and the minority cultures, the same consideration is not always true.  Gifford indicates that the local administration creates effective checks and balances that require strict adherence and sets up major penalties if faulted.   Though it often takes place involuntarily, the resulting orientation depicts key tolerance and eventual acceptance based on mutual respect.     

Emphasizing on societal values and role modeling
While indicating the special capacity that human beings hold in contrast to other organisms, Andersen and Howard explain that it is the duty of every man to seek the best for their neighbors and the entire human generation.  Though this consideration appear to be absent in the highly ethnocentric society, it is perhaps the only sure way to reduce and perhaps eliminate the problem of ethnocentrism.  As Diana explains, ethnocentrism develops as part of an individuals societal orientation, a factor that determines the make up of every person.  As a result, reducing ethnocentrism should be viewed from a positive note and directed towards improvement of the general societal outlook.  From an ethical point of view, human beings should ensure that they relate with others to achieve the maximum possible good in all of their actions.
Leaders at this point must come out to present the communities and their cultures with effective role models that can easily be reflected at the lower level.  During his administration, President George Bush incorporated people from all cultures in the top leadership to reduce the sense of ethnocentrism in his management.  People like Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were of African American origin and they effectively performed their duties.
From a religious point of view, Diana argues that there is needed emphasis on adherence to their sacred doctrines that presents key examples to the people.  For example the bible considers respect for the different people and their cultures as a sacred demand from God.  Therefore, people must be encouraged to take similar examples and therefore live harmoniously with others.

It is from this consideration that this paper concludes by supporting the thesis statement, the ability of a community or individual to minimize ethnocentrism and its impacts is one of the key platforms towards greater cooperation, adherence to the existing laws, holistic contribution by all and eventual economic growth and development in a country. Ethnocentrism came out as a highly intrinsic factor that mainly develops as people grow to assimilate the trends that shape their upbringing.  Minimizing it was therefore presented as an important consideration to create cohesion and harmony among the people at all levels of the society.  Addressing it cannot be addressed from an individuals perspective alone, but on an expanded societal outlook.  It is therefore crucial that all people get involved in reducing the problem both at the top of the management and leadership and even at the community level.  Leaders should particularly create the needed environment towards greater understanding of the need for harmonious coexistence from the top and projected to the lower societal levels. The communities on the other hand should on the other hand create a receptive culture that seeks continued improvement of their cultural delineations through enrichment from others.

Book Review The Kirghiz and Wakhi of Afghanistan Adaptation to Closed Frontiers and War by M. Nazif Mohib Shahrani.

In the field of anthropology M. Nazif Mohib Shahranis book, The Kirghiz and Wakhi of Afghanistan Adaptation to Closed Frontiers and War is a comprehensive ethnography that competently explains some of the intricacies of the Afghan culture through an examination of two ethnicities, namely, the Kirghiz and the Wakhi. This book review explains the essence of Sharanis work and its importance for the field of anthropology.
Sharanis book is a good introduction to anthropology for a person who is new in this field because of the logical manner the author treats the subject. He does not assume that the reader has any prior knowledge of the region and hence introduces the subject with a comprehensive, easy to understand historical overview and a geographical orientation before delving into the socio-economic intricacies of the Wakhi and the Kirghiz tribes of Afghanistan. Shahrani then describes the socio-cultural practices of both the ethnicities in detail following it up with an update concerning the ways the changed geopolitical circumstances impacted the their way of life and how they managed to cope with the changes. The book was first published in 1979 focusing primarily on the cultural and ecological adaptation of the Kirghiz, a nomadic tribe and the Wakhi, agriculturalists in an area known as the Wakhan Corridor, a region that borders  on Afghanistan, Pakistan, China. The high altitude and cold climate of that arid region became a focal point during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that changed the political dynamics of the situation where the two tribes found themselves forcing many of them to flee into Pakistan and Turkey.
Shahranis geographical backdrop tells the reader of the importance of the Wakhan Corridor in the Afghan Pamir mountain range as an ancient trade route that served  as a highway for traders, political emissaries, invading armies, refugees, pilgrims, explorers, adventurers, missionaries, and travelers long before the Christian era.  The indigenous people of the Wakhan area known as the Wakhi lived in settled villages on both sides of the rivers Amu Darya and Sarhad speaking a unique Wakhi language, an Indo-Iranian dialect adhering to the Ismailia (Shia) sect of Islam. However, the continuous strife, raids and conquests through the Wakhan Corridor decimated the indigenous population leaving only about a 6000 Wakhi living in about 700 household units. This inconsiderable Shia population had always been under pressure to convert to the majoritarian Sunni beliefs of the rest of Afghanistan and its authorities thus increasing the degree of difficulty for the small sect to maintain their identity.
In this miasma of cultures, a tribe of the Turkish origin known as the Kirghiz driven away from Chinese Turkistan also populated the Wakhan area adopting Sunni Islam as their religion in the 16th century. The Soviets too drove away this minority tribe in early 20th century and Sharani claims to have estimated to 1,825 persons, living in some 333 oey (family, household) units.The closure of the silk route and the frontiers under the new Westphalian regime robbed both the communities of their influence and restricted their movement only to within the Wakhan area. This has led to a new set of challenges for the tribes to cope with.

Very impressive in Shahranis study is the detailed description of the Wakhi social system which according to him revolves around the principle of the agnatic descent and kinship. Instead of claiming a common ancestry, the Wakhi claim that the members of their society came from six different agnatic descent groups. In each of these cases the consanguineal nature of the ancestral identities served as totemic symbols for each group to declare their relative importance in the social interaction amongst the community. Descent rules between the various groups are highly definitive with a distinctive feature governing intermarriage. Endogamy is a prevalent practice amongst the Wakhi with cross marriage being permitted only between certain groups.  Patriarchal powers abound in the first three groups, but the next three have a mixed concept of decision making wherein both the senior-most male or female member of the khoonkhlaq (family) being allowed to collectively take decisions.  The first three groups are considered as asl or true, noble of high quality of blood while the last three are considered as ghareeb or poor by the Wakhi society. Shahrani states that a Khoonkhalq is a patrilocal agnatic descent group that is generally endogamous and corporate. A khoonkhalq may have two or more joint patrilineal families comprised of three to five generations with a residence pattern which is distinctly patrilocal and not matrilocal or avunculocal or bilocal or neolocal. The Wakhi are agriculturalists who use simple plow-animal technique to till the land. An inconsiderable part of land-rich Wakhis engage themselves in pastoralism. Both the sections manage the ecosystem of their region in which agriculture and pastoral activities co-exist.

The Kirghiz, on the other hand, are nomadic people who have adapted to the high altitude bitterly cold climate of their region to engage themselves in herding animals, such as yak, sheep, goats, Bactrian camels and horses that can sustain in the harsh environment and the ill effects of Hypoxia. The Kirghiz unlike the Wakhi have no formalized rules for endogamy or exogamy except that sexual relations are not permitted between immediate blood relatives. There is a very high incidence of bilateral first cousin marriages within an oruq (family group) In some parts of the world, such a practice could be termed as incestuous for example in the United States, in some states, marriage between first cousins is considered as incest and forbidden by law. The affinal relationships such as the Damaad or the son-in-law are common to both the Wakhi and the Kirghiz with each having a say and relative standing in the society as also family matters. Both the tribes have patrilineal leanings rather than matrilineal heritage owing to their Islamic roots where the male dominates as a figurehead of the family. Kirghiz nomadic camps act as independent social units which in some cases belong to the same patrilineal descent group. In such cases the camp becomes a cohesive political unit and fictive kinship does exist between camps having the same patrilineal descent group.   

The closure of borders and the adoption of the centralized nation-state model in Afghanistan by the colonial powers had a wide ranging impact on the socio-cultural practices of the Wakhi and the Kirghiz community. Closing the borders restricted the nomadic lifestyle of the Kirghiz who then had to resort to intensify the land use in a type of pastoral involution. Since land was controlled by the Wakhi, the Kirghiz had to depend upon them for agricultural products. The historical agricultural independence of the Wakhis too changed as the increased demand was difficult to sustain and this led to the Wakhi becoming dependant on the Kirghiz for pastoral products. This resulted in economic interdependence between the two communities. This changed the Kirghiz nomadic existence to a more settled life. While the economic interdependence was a forced issue, the socio-cultural divide between the Sunni Kirghiz and the Shia Wakhi remained. When the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, the Kirghiz were further oppressed and had to flee to Pakistan and Turkey for survival. Three major changes took place within the Kirghiz society with the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Firstly, almost all the Kirghiz had to relocate from their traditional abode to Pakistan and Turkey that severed their longstanding cultural ties with their region. Secondly, in both these countries, the Kirghiz were thrust into an alien environment with each new setting having its own socio-cultural dynamics. In Turkey, the Turkish government located the Kirghiz in Kurdish regions for political reasons. Thus the Kirghiz suddenly had new neighbors with whom they had to develop new social equations.   Thirdly, the Kirghiz had to give up their pastoral nomadic existence for a more settled lifestyle in the refugee camps of Pakistan and Turkey.

Despite the relocation to far off lands, the Kirghiz adapted quite well to the changed circumstances. Many of those who relocated to Turkey managed to make use of the better economic opportunities that Turkey provided and this created a new class of prosperous Kirghiz households that had imbibed a range of the Turkish values. Better economic avenues translated into better health and therefore the Kirghiz population in Turkey increased with falling mortality rates. Some cultural changes had to be imbibed because of the changed circumstances. Traditionally, the Kirghiz community never had the centralized leadership with each camp having its own leader. However, having been relocated to a specific area in Eastern Turkey, the community had to adopt a more centralized model of leadership with one leader being designated to speak for the community. Nevertheless, the cultural traditions related to marriage were continued. 

Sharanis case study is an excellent reading for those who wish to understand the basic anthropological methodology. The author combines the historical facts with the personal experience and the quantitative analysis arrived at from study of anthropological surveys of the region carried out by him and other scholars. In my opinion, Shahranis anthropological part of the study is professional and objective. Shahranis anthropological analysis on the effects of Hypoxia on the pastoral communities is, however, dated as other anthropologists have come out with better supported rationales. The authors musings in the preface and the epilogue to cover events after 911 however stand out jarringly. His concepts of geopolitics appear to be nave when he proclaims that terrorists were not created by Afghanistan but by U.S., the Israeli and Indian policies. In such pronouncements, the author betrays personal bias to Islamic ideological leanings which rob this otherwise superlative professional work in anthropology some of its credence.

In conclusion, I agree that Shahranis analysis is quite objective regarding the current policies in Afghanistan. The anthropological study makes the reader aware of the diverse cultural divide and differences that exist in Afghanistan and how these necessarily have to be taken into account before trying to impose an external solution. To my mind the West led by America is erring grievously in trying to install a western style democratic structure in the deeply traditional Islamic society which has for centuries existed as a loose federation of tribes each with its own area of influence, laws and culture and therefore an Afghan style federated political structure may be more viable as Shahrani recommends.
Survival is one of the things organism work for in their existence. Each one of us have the desire to leave a part of ourselves in the worldto make our markso that we can tell ourselves that we have done something significant or there is some importance to our existence. This is why the ability to reproduce is also an important factor in our lives the capacity to pass on our traits, to make it fit enough to survive.

Time, selection, and change are some of the components of evolution. In Darwins study, he was able to conclude that organisms have the ability to create more offspring than what the environment can support, and each of the offspring owns a unique trait. A number of them may possess combinations that enable them to survive and reproduce. These different traits are acquired in the combination of genes in the process of reproduction and mutation.

The selection of traits that survive is a function of the environment where the organism lives, as the theory on natural selection asserts. To quote Herbert Spencers words, This survival of the fittest, implies the multiplication of the fittest. . . This survival of the fittest. . . is that which Mr. Darwin has called natural selection, or the preservation of favoured races in the struggle for life, the term fittest in this equation does not pertain to those who have good physique and health, this refers to the specie who carry the genes suited for its environment and who is able to pass it on through reproduction, which in turn allows them to survive.

Apart from their ability to reproduce and spread their traits, other factors have an effect on a species survival in its environment. This may come in the form of pH changes, temperature, food, the species they interact with, and the like. Although it may appear that physical traits are essential in survival, it must be noted that these traits will be useless if the specie or organism is unable to pass on this qualities.

This is illustrated in the case of the two male crickets who are trying to find a mate. The first cricket has all the attributes of what a lady cricket would desire. He is described as big, healthy. . . strong, confident, and looking for love, and to add to this, this cricket has the ability to sing or call. The second cricket has different attributes altogether. He is silent. Considering the attributes both crickets have, we can say that fitness depends on the environment the cricket is situated a location with less or more predator. A good or bad genetic makeup does not guarantee that one is the fittest although the ability to adapt to ones environment is a plus. Fitness is present for the cricket that is able to reproduce and pass on traits to their offspring.    

Calling is both good and bad for a male crickets fitness. It all depends on the environment he is situated. Two things results from the ability to call the prospect of attracting female crickets, and the misfortune of being prey to predators. Since fitness is described as the ability to multiply and pass on the gene, then, the skill to call by normal crickets is seen as positive since calling is an essential trait in order to get a female crickets attention. Calling is followed by a courtship song, which lures the female into mating (Understanding Evolution). However, in an environment infested by predators who can hear the call as well, the scenario seems unfavorable for this type of crickets. Calling will reveal the cricket to its predators, which can result to his death depending on the other traits he carries (extra strength or speed in running).

Three examples of natural selection can be found in the cricket story. In an environment with lesser predator, natural selection will favor the calling cricket. They have the advantage to call and attract a female mate. This will result to more offspring with calling traits, and there will less number of the silent types. Even though they may be able to intercept the mating of the noisy cricket, chances are the calling cricket will still be the majority in that island since females will less attracted to the silent ones. On the other hand, a location filled with predators works otherwise. Natural selection will favor the silent crickets. Noisy crickets will reveal their location to predators like the bats, and chances are they would get eaten as compared to silent crickets, they will be able to hide from the bat and get a chance to find a mate some other time. Though much advantage is given to the silent crickets in this scenario, they are still dependent on calling males to attract female crickets and intercept their mating. Still, in this situation, advantage is with the silent cricket they will remain the majority for this instance. Natural selection is also present in the existence of the environment. The environment is the one who chooses which to favor. It is not in the characteristics or trait of the cricket noisy or silent. It is the environments make up who decides which trait to favor, and thus, who survives.

The natural selection occurring in the story is directional selection. Directional selection occurs when there is a shift to one extreme more or less, noisy or silent. Natural selection has to favor one of the extremes in a situation. In this case there are two extremes, the calling cricket and the silent cricket. In cases where there is less predators, the natural selection goes to the direction of the calling cricket since they will be the fit organism. When there is more predators, there will be again one shift to the other extreme, the advantage is now with the silent crickets.

As aforementioned, the environment plays a vital role in deciding who will survive. In an area filled with predators, most likely there will be lesser calling since the dominant trait in that area are the silent types. The situation may be that most of the calling types are eaten by the predator, and this was observed in Kauai crickets. Since there were many flies in the area and these flies drops maggots on crickets to feed on them from the inside, calling crickets will be the regular target for them. This decreased the population of calling crickets resulting to more silent crickets in the area. For areas with no or less predators, there will be more cricket calling since the chances of being food to predators is less and female crickets are attracted to calling crickets as compared to the silent ones. The genetic makeup of silent cricket will be a minority in the area.

Gift Economy.

Gift economies have been present since the Stone Age. In modern times, with the advent of new economic structures such as communism and capitalism, certain characteristics from free economies are still in use. With free markets failing and a need for more controls needed, the state owned philosophy of running economies are becoming more and more popular. However, they too are not without setbacks and disadvantages when dealing with a global economy.

With the reliance on plastic money and liquidity, the commodity of exchange is becoming more complex day by day. The reliance on one form of commodity trading using money as the principal source of exchange, is facing scrutiny. Characteristics of gift economies are becoming ever more encouraging and with the influx of the global turbulence in the financial markets, gift economies are being studied further, as financial experts try to borrow the best of each system to build a new world order where depressions and recessions can be minimized.

Gift economies
According to anthropologist Marshall Sahlins, since the beginning of time, and Stone Age economies in particular, gift economies have existed as the fundamental source of a market structure. Thus far, most modern economists and anthropologists reject this notion stating that earlier economies were subjected to severe poverty and scarcity of resources. However, according to Marshalls, the nature of gift economies require an abundance of resources. Evidence augmenting this argument lies in the fact that principles of sharing food and clothing were quite common in earlier times.

Thus, the basis of a gift economy is on the underlying assumption that gifts must be exchanged. This exchange must transcend from the top of society to the bottom and not just an individual exchange between two parties. The basis of this assumption can be held in activities such as alms giving, charity or even sacrifices made to a deity. All forms reflect a sense of exchange in society, which if considered, will result in the collective benefit of the person giving the gift. Thus, creating a society of tolerance, sharing and communal living.

Gift economies and their principle difference between commodity markets
If we examine history, various tribes such as the Chinook, Nootka and other regions from the Pacific Northwest  we can see that most people gave gifts in terms of valuables such as blankets, and food. Hunter gatherer tribes were based on entirely this form of economy where the success of a hunter was not based upon how much he had hunted but rather how much he had bought back with him to the tribe. He did not get paid or reimbursed for his hunt rather it was his gift to society.

Lewis Hyde further elaborated on this issue in the book The gift the erotic life of property in which he mentioned how the gift economy varies from that of the exchange or commodities economy. He mentions the fundamental difference between the two economies in the underlying circumstance of status that is accorded in each economy. In a commodity exchange market, status is based on the function of who has the most. However, in a gift economy, the underlying basis is on who gives the most to society.

Another fundamental difference identified by Hyde between market economies and gift economies is the underlying focus on relationships and connections between the society itself. In a market economy, the nature of transactions is very impersonal, brutal and selfish. However, in a gift economy, the fundamental purpose is to develop, maintain and sustain relationship between fellow members of society. Because of this underlying factor, Hyde mentioned a gift economy as one undertaking erotic commerce, which works against that of a market economy which functions on the principles of logic and reason.

Functioning of the gift economy
The example of the gift economy in modern times can be given by modern scientists who follow the same guiding principles of the gift economy. Scientists that are accorded the highest status are actually those who are willfully sharing their research and academic knowledge with the rest of society. They not only contribute fully to their fields, but also pass on the same information to society, free of cost. Their career is based on the premise that they share their information. Those scientists who are not published are seen as to have wasted their careers.

Definition of gifts
When Hyde formulated his theories on the gift economies, differentiating what constitutes as gifts and what does not was a major issue in his anthropological theories. According to him, anything material and immaterial can be held as a gift. These include talents, and inspirations, which can benefit society as a whole. The underlying purpose of the definition entails that any gift that works in a gift economy is one that inspires the soul, and moves human beings. Gifts given out of obligation cannot be constituted as genuine gifts in a gift economy.

Contradictions within the gift economy
Marcel Mauss argued that nothing can ever be truly free. The same principle works for gifts because, as with everything else, it cannot be free. Though the idea of the gift economy is interesting in nature, practically it is impossible, according to Marcel. The concept of independence that stems in a majority of societies is a clear augmentation of that very fact. When young adults choose to stop accepting money from their parents, or gifts, and choose independence instead is fundamentally living out that idea. Human beings do not wish to be caught in a spiral of obligation. They would rather be free themselves.

Hyde also states that in some circumstances, when people actually do not want the same relationships as portrayed by the gift economy. When we speak about gifts, we automatically establish bonds. But at some points in life, human beings do not want those bonds, but have no choice to accept them when they have accepted the gifts.

Beyond the above two theories forwarded by sociologists, there is an underlying obligation to return gifts in one form or the other. When kings rewarded their people with gifts and tax free time periods, they could buy loyalty. Similarly, when other gifts entail similar benefits which are not that explicit in nature, the idea of the gift economy actually diminishes.

In conclusion, a gift economy has its positives and drawbacks. The underlying focus should perhaps be on the purpose of the gift economy. The purpose is to share a more intricate connection between the members of society, and live in a collective manner than striving for individual goals alone. The concept of connectivity and relationship management should be taken from gift economies and a hybrid version of a new economy should be formed to solve the economic woes plaguing our financial systems.

Species Concept.

Theories and concepts largely influence the manner by which investigators will view or understand his or her surroundings (Wiley, 1978). More specifically, in scientific investigations, it is very crucial that an investigator or a researcher clings to reputable and empirically-concluded theories in order to come up with appropriate observations and research based conclusions (Wiley, 1978). The same concept holds true for the Evolutionary Biology wherein researchers are troubled by the formulation and recognition of the most applicable and most appropriate species concept. Such kind of conceptual framework is very essential in the said scientific field because it gives clarification on the rightful manner by which the species, the last entry on the classification of the hierarchy of biological units (Wiley, 1978), should be considered. Hence, the objective of this essay is to describe the various species by providing emphasis on two specific conceptual frameworks, phylogenetic and non-phylogenetic, in order to provide detailed information on the currently available species concepts which are recognized by the scientific community. The evolutionary-based and non-evolutionary based concepts are chosen because they are the ones which are seen to render the most number of scientific evidences from the literature. Furthermore, the aforementioned concepts will provide a sound basis of the perception of a person on his or her importance in the biosphere.
    The Evolutionary Species Concept was originally formulated by Simpson in 1961 and it states that species is a single lineage of ancestral descendant populations of organisms which maintains its identity from other such lineages and which has its own evolutionary tendencies and historical fates (as cited by Wiley, 1978 p. 18). By analysis, this definition warrants the perception of species as individuals rather than classes and as historical, temporal and spatial entities (Wiley, 1978). Consequently, the Evolutionary Species Concept is said to be more valid than the other concepts because it takes into account all of the organisms of evolutionary relationships, effectiveness of reproductive isolation to allow maintenance or species identity, non-consideration of morphological distinctiveness, and the notion that no single lineage can produce ancestral-dependent species (Wiley, 1978). 
    The abovementioned species concept is based on the phylogenetic relationships of species and in contrast to this, biologists may opt to define species based on non-phylogenetic considerations (Agapow et al., 2004) which include The Biological Species Concept, The Taxonomists Species, and The Nominal Species (Lewin, 1981). The Biological species concept regard species as group of organisms that have no capability of interbreeding thereby saying that species are reproductively isolated from each other, a representation of separate biological lineages (Agapow et al., 2004). This theoretical framework considers self-recognition and interfertility as determined by conspecificity, gene reassortment, gene flow, genetic divergence, sexual maturity and other fertility-based concepts (Lewin, 1981). More specifically, it states that members of the same species are capable of interbreeding while members of non-adjacent species are incapable of mating as dictated by certain biological and genetic barriers (Lewin, 1981). In a less scientific manner, the BSC describes the recognition of species in the way by which the organisms perceive it themselves (Lewin, 1981). The Taxonomists species concept, on the other hand, states that a species is a class of organisms in most respects, differing only by the kind of individual variation that can be experimentally shown to be attributable to environmental factors or to freely segregating and recombining genes (Lewin, 1981, p. 612). This definition reflects the way by which investigators perceive species based on the extending field of experience and techniques. Lastly, the Nominal Species Concept affirms the importance of the usage of binomial Latin names in the distinction of organisms and such naming system provides a logical and internationally agreed upon manner of naming species in order to facilitate research studies and interactive learning (Lewin, 1981). 
    Mechanisms that make speciation possible is composed of three factors and these are allopatric, parapatric, and sypmpatric (Species concepts, phylogenies, and speciation). Allopatric speciation explains that the new species evolves as a function of geographical isolation from its ancestors while the parapatric speciation states that the new species evolve in a geographical contiguous population (Species concepts, phylogenies, and speciation). Lastly, sympatric speciation is characterized by the evolution of species within the geographic range of its ancestors (Species concepts, phylogenies, and speciation).
Researchers believe that species concept should be logically distinct from particular mechanisms of speciation (Chandler  Gromko, 1989). It is also emphasized that different variables were significantly associated with species richness in each arrangement of taxonomy (Isaac  Purvist, 2004). Hence, the notion that species are passive end products of evolution, which is based upon the low level of intraspecific gene flow and divergent populations when exposed to uniform selection pressures, is improper and must not be accepted because such considerations of traditionally perceived constraints of genetic variations are overemphasized and are less likely to cause significant species differentiation (Rieseberg  Burke, 2001). Species should be considered as active aggregates of the biological process which are very essential in the completion of ecological cycles. Mechanisms of speciation are important but the notion of species concept should be grounded on the fusion of both historical evidences and present conditions of the organisms. In this manner, both the phylogenetic and non-phylogenetic means of species concept are acceptable but are subjected to subsequent scientific analysis.
 The phylogenetic theory is essential in the analysis of fossil-based evidences while the non-phylogenetic frameworks are needed in the study of present species status with respect to the whole biological system and other non-living organisms. The concepts laid in this essay stress the importance of knowing and establishing a definition of the species concept. However, the same process suggests to the readers that a single conceptual framework is not yet applicable for all the species across all cultures and covering all geographical boundaries. Consequently, presently available species concept all affirm to the idea that all species are essential in the processes of life on earth and no organism must be considered inferior to the other because all are products of complicated evolutionary processes and species differentiation.

Globalization in China Challenges and Opportunities.

The world today is a global village, especially with the increasing need of people to interact through social, economic and political forums. The world faces challenges like terrorism and global warming, which can better be tackled through concerted efforts amongst nations. And some challenges that affect one country spill over to other countries across the globe, an example being the recent economic recession that began from the U.S. and affected the global economy. This makes it imperative for any nation on the globe to collaborate with other nations, socially, economically and politically in what has come to be referred to as globalization. In this discourse we focus on China and the opportunities and challenges that the globalization and western culture have brought to the countrys culture, economy and politics.
    Globalization in China
    Chinas globalization history is better understood in line with its social, economic and political history. In ancient times, China was a very open society and established considerable trade relationships with the rest of Asia and Europe. China exported to West Asia and Europe products made of its famous inventions of paper, printing, gun powder and compass. In 1949, a new government led by the Communist Party was established in China and between that year and 1977 China was a relatively closed society. This was in spite of the many diplomatic ties between China and countries in Asia, Africa, east Europe and Latin America (Globalization and China, Gao).
However, its economic tie with the rest of the world was very limited. Chinas chief economic foreign partners were the Soviet Union and other socialist economies during the 50s. And with the split of Soviet Union after 1960, Chinas principal ties were in the Third World and with a few individual capitalist countries. Its relative isolation from the core of international economic activities in the early 70s enabled it to escape the early onslaught of the processes of globalization. It was involved neither in the breakdown of the Bretton Woods nor in the two oil price shocks of the decade (Globalization and China, Gao).
    The founding leader of the New China, Mao Zedong died in 1976, bringing an end to the 10 year long cultural revolution. During the Cultural Revolution, the focus of the Chinese government was ideological warfare and class struggles, rather than economic development. In 1977, Deng Xiaoping took over and in 1979 he enacted the policies of economic reform and opening up to the outside world (Globalization and China, Gao).
Globalization has undoubtedly brought with it numerous challenges and opportunities which all countries, especially the developing ones, have to grapple with and China is no exception. In fact, being the most populous country in the world, it is remarkable that China has undergone globalization at a rapid pace over the past two decades. When Xiaoping opened Chinas doors in the late 70s, it was not expected that China would be integrated to the rest of the world at such a dramatic pace (Yongniang, 1).
Nevertheless, globalization is still a complicated process in China (Zhang, 27). Even though there are varied scholastic understandings of globalization in regards to the Chinese case, there are three assumptions that underpin the whole debate. For one, the majority of Chinese elite apparently believe that the trends of globalization are inevitable and that there is no alternative to them (China and its Reaction to Globalization, Gu). 
Secondly, most Chinese scholars are grounded in the belief that globalization is not only an economic process, but also a political and social process. This is in the sense that globalization is a process in which the pressures of free flow of international capital are forcing changes in the national domestic structures, creating novel strata relations and are waking new individual consciousness (China and its Reaction to Globalization, Gu). 
Far from that, many a scholars in China concur with the observation that globalization has definitely confirmed the failure of the Stalins assumption on two parallel world markets. To these scholars, globalization is a complete triumph of the free market economy over other economic models, like those espoused by the former Soviet Union. The free market, with its power to allocate resources effectively, is seen as the key factor that is generating this historical triumph (China and its Reaction to Globalization, Gu). 
     Impact of Globalization on Chinas Economy
    The economic success that China enjoys today is directly associated with the liberalization and globalization and, each aspect of globalization has brought China further success (Overholt, 1). Previously, before embracing reforms, China had an autarkic economy, opposed the global economic order and the major global institutions such as the IMF and the World Bank (Overholt, 3).
    Currently, China has adapted not just foreign technology and foreign corporate management, but also to a wide variety of foreign institutions and practices. These include international accounting standards the British, U.S and Hong Kong security laws a central bank structure modeled on the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank. China has also adopted the Taiwan style of regulation for portfolio investment and an economic development plan whose model is the same as those in South Korea, Singapore and Taiwan (Overholt, 5)
The returns that China has reaped from opening its markets to the world are not only reserved to its participation in globalization. Any country that embraces globalization invariably draws the gains that globalization brings with it. As mentioned by Zhang, globalization provides greater trading and investment opportunities, higher standards of living, a more open national economic system and, a more powerful and comprehensive state capacity (26).
In his paper titled, Globalization of the World Economy Potential Benefits and Cost and Net Assessment, Intriligator also concurs with Zhang when he states that globalization is better understood to mean an increment in world wide trade and exchanges and an increasingly open, integrated and borderless international economy. He adds that there has been a remarkable growth in such trade and exchanges, not only in the traditional international trade in goods and service, but also in the exchange of currencies in capital movement in trade transfer people moving through international travel and migration and, in the flow of information and ideas.
According to Intriligator, one measure of the extent of globalization is the volume of international financial transactions, with some  1.2 trillion flowing through New York currency markets every day, and the volume of daily international stock market transactions exceeding this enormous amount.
 In china globalizing the country in an economic sense has been an integral part in the post-Mao reforms. The principal aim of the reform was to integrate China into the international community. At the outset, the international integration became an important force that catalyzed reforms and the subsequent implementation of the open-door policy (Yongniang, 3).
Yongniang further explains that, after the reformist leadership legitimized capitalism as a way of promoting economic growth in the early 90s, the tide of globalization became irreversible. Since then, not only has globalization generated its own dynamics as the reformist leadership took the advantage of the situation to depend on globalization to overcome difficulties associated with domestic reforms (3).
The initial phase of economic reforms in China started with the agriculture sector. This immediately resulted into a rapid growth in the agricultural produce and therefore, a sharp rise in incomes for the rural people. As agriculture productivity soared, greater agriculture surplus was available for non-farm development. This in turn, led to the growth of townships and village enterprises, from which, some emerged as the driving force of Chinas economic growth (Yongniang, 3).
 After the agricultural sector had accomplished its initial reforms, the leadership switched to reforms in the industrial sector in the urban areas (Yongniang, 3). The reformist government increased the authority of local officials and plant managers and also permitted a wide variety of small-scale private as well as public enterprises in services and light manufacturing (Globalization and China, Gao).

Worth noting is that, industrial reforms have been facilitated by Chinas link to the outside world. Other reforms of the countrys economy like the revamp of the foreign trade system ended the monopoly of the state trade corporations over the export-import business, and thousands of Chinese companies could now trade internationally (Yongniang, 3).
Besides, the setting up of economic zones (SEZ) and the opening of dozens of coastal cities to foreign businesses instantly led to an influx of foreign capital, which was lured by many preferential policies towards foreign-funded enterprises (Yongniang, 3).
These reforms spurn China into a strong economical footing on the global scale. Guthrie states that China has accomplished in 25 years what many developing nations have taken a quarter of a century or even more time to achieve for the better past of the last two and a half decade, China has had the fastest growing economy in the world, sustaining double-digit figures for much of 80s and 90s. Throughout the 80s Chinas Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew at annual average rate of 10.2 percent  a level that was only equated by the growth rate of Botswana. Then from 1990 -1996, the average annual growth rate was 12.3 percent, the highest rate of any country in the world at that time (4).
In 2001, Chinas GDP was 1.2 trillion, being the seventh in the world, the U.S., Japan, German, France, U.K. and Italy and, today, non-state economies account for more than 40 percent of the countrys GDP. In 1999, the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program issued a report which pointed out that the number of poverty stricken people was increasing in many parts of the world but in China, exception being in China (Globalization and China, Gao).     
    How Globalization Changed the Political System in China
Naturally, globalization is regarded as a political process. When a country is set against an open international economic system, it invariably faces many political issues. Developing countries like China are facing more difficulties in dealing with their political reforms. The problems that they have to solve include the promotion of political reforms at the same time maintaining social development and the improvement of efficiency and considerations of fairness (Zhang 26).
As pointed out by Overholt, China was the worlds most important opponent of globalization before its government chose to embrace reforms. It opposed the global political order and instead believed that global disorder was profitable. Under Mao Zedong, China actively promoted insurgencies in most of its neighbors and, in much of Africa and Latin America (3). But today China has managed to transform itself from being the worlds greatest opponent of globalization and greatest disruptor of global institutions to become a committed member of those institutions and advocate of globalization (Overholt, 1).
This shift was necessitated by the consciousness of the fact that in order to tap into the economic and political gains available around the globe, a country needs to integrate rather than seclude itself. As observed by Zhang, globalization is a concept of security to the Chinese, which can both meet the demands of modernization and also help to maintain stability and order (26). 
As a result of China opening itself up to the rest of the world, its political structure has undergone some tremendous developments, especially from the global perspective. China has transformed itself from a policy of self-reliance and suspicion to that one of openness and integration. With its membership in the WTO and other major world and regional organizations, China has subsequently become an integral part of the world community (Yongniang, 1).
However, Yongniang notes, the Chinese states appears to have remained affixed to its traditional Leninist form and, this helped raise the question if the economic globalization of will translate into political democracy to China (1). Already, globalization has weakened the power of the Chinese state in some areas and, the state has responded to its declining power consciously in some cases and unconsciously in others (Yongniang, 2).
In essence, the Chinese state has not merely played the role of the fire brigade, reacting passively to the negative consequences of economic transformation and globalization. Instead, the state has rather adopted a proactive approach to re-make the state system. These conscious actions have not only modernized the Chinese state but also strengthened the power of the state in many aspects (Yongniang, 2).
Influence of Western Culture on Chinese Culture
Recognizing the benefits that come with it, China does not prevent economic globalization from penetrating the country, for it helps to stimulate the development of the Chinese economy. However, this reception is not the same on the cultural front. China tries to prevent its culture from being globalized or homogenized. If anything, the globalization of culture, by no means, lies in the homogenization of culture but also in making a variety out of different cultures and literature (Ning, Globalization and Culture).
Undoubtedly, the western culture has helped change the complexion of the Chinese culture in both subtle and overt ways. A 2005 report from China Daily said colorfully coiffure Chinese youth dressed in up-to-the-minute grunge listening to rock music as they walk, or sitting in a group discussing last nights NBA league match are common sights in Chinas large cities.
The report further pointed out that in the 20 years since implementation of the reform and opening-up policy, the youth in China have ostensibly embraced the Western culture they eat at one of the 600 McDonalds, flock the NBA League and Italian Soccer League matches and, watch Hollywood rather than domestically produced films. In fact, Hollywood earns one billion Yuan, this representing the greatest part of the Chinese film market, whereas Chinese cinema goers spend approximately, a measly 20 million Yuan on locally made films (China Daily).
 In a survey at the coast, among middle school students about the most popular sports and entertainment personalities, Michael Jordan came first with 26percent, followed by Jacky Chan with 18.6 percent.  In fact, middle school and primary school students are particularly prone to Western fads, the majority of them more enamored of Harry Potter and Finding Nemo than any domestically produced books or animated cartoons (China Daily).
As if not enough, the youthful preference for Western leisure pursuits extends to holiday celebrations. Amongst Chinas numerous traditional festivals, only Spring Festival is unanimously observed by both young and old. The others, such as the Lantern Festival and Dragonboat Festival, are overshadowed by Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Valentines Day and Christmas (China Daily).  
However, this influence by western culture has not permeated all sections of the social life in China. Not every youth has absorbed the western culture wholesale. Some family values are still held dear despite the peoples exposure to the liberal social mores of the western culture.
As highlighted in the China Daily report, a 2000 survey in Beijing showed that only 30 percent of respondents disagreed with the statement that Its fine for lovers to have sex whether or not they intend to marry. But the proportion of participants under the age of 20 agreeing with this sentiment was 16 percent higher than those above the age of 30. This brought to the fore the concern about Chinese youths apparent unconditional acceptance of Western culture, with many fearing that it would lead to moral decadence.
Everyone in China, young and old, acknowledges that Western culture has indeed influenced the lifestyle and values of the younger generation. But this influence suffers some limitations. With the high development of the media culture, young people have more contact than ever with foreign culture. There are close to 87 million internet users in China, most of them being young people (China Daily).
Coupled with the openness and diversity of our modern society, this means that the youth seek their cultural orientation within the ambit of Western culture. In contrast to the Chinese youth of the 80s, who wholeheartedly allied themselves with the liberal trends of their time, todays young Chinese have a moral rational stance over western culture (China Daily).
This influence does not begin and end with the young people in China. Its tentacles have reached all the sections of the Chinese society.
In sum, by opening itself to the world, China has gained more than it ever dream of if it remained an introvert nation.

Rastafarian Belief System.

Little is known about the Rastafari movement. More often than not, the term Rasta is associated with dreadlocks and ganja (marijuana) burning. However, more than these impressions Rastafari have strong religious and sociopolitical underpinnings that are recognized worldwide.
Rastafari emerged from the slums of Kingston in Jamaica during 1920s and 1930s. In an environment that is characterized by great poverty, depression, class discrimination and racism, Rasta clearly served as the message of black pride, liberty from oppression, and the hope to return to the promise land (Africa). The followers of Rastafari are also referred to as Rastafarians, Rastas, Rastafaris, or Ras Tafarians. This movement is named after Ras Tafari Makonnen (Haile Selassie I), crowned emperor of Ethiopia in 1930 (Rastafari, 2008).
Although Rastafarian is not considered as a highly organized religion, but more of an ideology, its central belief system is based from the Christian bible. Their sacred text known as the Holy Piby or the Black Mans Bible is a version of the Christian Bible that has been altered in order to remove the distortions that are believed to have been incorporated by white leaders during its English translation. Rastafarians believe in the Judeo-Christian God known as Jah. At the core of the Rastafarian belief system is the underpinning that black people are the original descendants of early Israelites, and their transgression against God was the reason for their exile. They hold on to the belief that their salvation is in the hands of the savior, Haile Selassie I. Selassie is perceived by the Rastas as the reincarnation of Christ, who will lead them to the land of freedom, Africa, specifically in Ethiopia, which they associate with heaven. Their salvation is attained through repatriation, which contain various meaning for those who adhere to the Rastafarian belief. For some, repatriation is the physical return to Africa, for others more than physical return, repatriation is to become aware of the African identity re-establish their identity that have been overpowered by other forms of force, and immediately undergo changes in reality that is totally different from the reality they are living in at the moment (Williams, 2007).
Although conflicting theories have existed to address the origins of the matted locks (dreadlocks) among Rastafaris, all these theories agree that it was in mid-1950s that wearing matted locks has become a prominent and defining feature of the Rastafarian movement. According to Jamaican scholar Horace Campbell, Jamaican Rastas wore hair locks in 1950s after seeing a photo of Mau Mau of Kenya, an African freedom fighter whose presence instilled fear in the hearts of those who oppose his struggle against oppression and racism. Accordingly, this potent image of Mau Mau took shape among Rastas through the appropriation of the matted lock hairstyle. Along with the dreadlock, the term Mau Mau became the ideal representation of Jamaican defiance among younger generation of Rastas. A group of young Rastas known as Youth Black Faith thoroughly identified themselves with Mau Mau, that they actively promoted the cause of anticolonial guerilla force. In fact, they closely adhered to Mau Mau that they organized a protest demonstration against Jamaican authorities wore their hair in matted locks to emphasize their anticolonial sentiments and reinforce black supremacy as inspired by the Rastafarian doctrine (Murrell, Spencer and McFarlane, 1998). The Youth Black Faith even went a step further with their desire to go against colonial conformity by institutionalizing the use of Ganja (marijuana) as an integral part of the Rastafarian movement. Hence, the weed has become associated with the movement (Chevannes, 1994).
Other important identification of the Rastafarian movement is that of the colors red, yellow, green and black which functions as the most conspicuous symbols of the movement globally. Red and blac signifies the blood of the Jamaican martyrs and the Africans whose descendants make up 98 percent of Jamaicas population respectively Green for the African vegetation and the Rastafarian hope for victory against oppression and yellow which is the color of Jamaicas national flag (Murrell, Spencer and McFarlane, 1998).
With wider understanding and tolerance for the Rastfarian belief system, the movement has sustained over the years and has grown to coincide with other religious denominations in the world.

Application to Optimal Foraging Theory to Real-Life Eating Decision.

Optimal foraging theory purports that a forager opts for behavior that maximizes net benefits compared to other choices. The other feasible options available to the forager constitute the decision or strategy set. The forager must choose an optimal strategy from the set. The theory has been extensively used to study foraging behaviors of animals and human hunters. However, the same can be extended to comprehend day to day eating decisions. Diet breadth model has been used to decipher the optimal strategy in the given incident. This model presumes prior knowledge of prey or in my case food item. Additionally, it requires awareness of search costs i.e. rate of encounter or time spent looking for prey and handling costs i.e. return rate on encounter or time spent in pursuit, capture, processing and eating of the food item.
     For this eating decision, I find myself in a marketing complex foraging for food. For simplicity only three acceptable food items are available in the market namely cheeseburgers, dairy milk chocolates and apples. Assuming that at least some quantity of each food item or prey type is available in the market, I constitute my decision or strategy set. This set includes options of consuming only single food item i.e. only apples, burger or chocolates, a combination of two out of three items or a mix of all three food items. The measurement of scale or currency is taken to be energy. Energy obtained from each food item is mentioned in table 1. In the first case, I am standing next to a food stall containing all the three items. No search costs are involved as the required items are next to me and handling costs of all three items are assumed to be the same, 1 item in 6 minutes. For case 1, return rate or net benefits are also shown. Here invariably the optimal strategy involves preference for chocolates alone to maximize my net benefit.
     In the second case, I find that some of the materials on the food stall are actually artificial in nature and not edible. Thus, density of items which was constant in the first case now varies for different items. Earlier, chocolate density was 10 chocolates1 hour. However, I noticed that 5 of them were artificial, reducing their density to 5hour. Now the ranking criterion denotes that average of cheeseburger and chocolate return rate is 3100 calhr, less than that of cheeseburgers. Therefore, diet breadth model will suggest increase in diet breadth and I will prefer both chocolates and cheeseburgers. The two aforementioned food items are still not rare enough for inclusion of apples in my preferred diet. Still, in a third case, four out of five available chocolates were purchased by a customer before me along with 8 burgers. Further, I notice a crate of 5 apples lying next to the stall increasing apple density to 15hr. This leaves me with a chocolate density of onehr while that of cheeseburger falls to 2hr. Return rates for cheeseburgers and chocolate becomes 620 calhr, while the average of all three items becomes 713 calhr, suggesting that diet should again be increased and I should forage for all three food items. In this way, optimal foraging theory can help to understand my eating decision in the market place.
Werner Herzogs film Wodaabe - Herdsmen of the Sun, documents life with the Wodaabe, a subgroup of the Fulani tribe, known for their pastoral nomadic lifestyle and for their unique cultural celebrations and rituals, the most iconic of which is the Gerewol which highly elaborate displays to showcase the attractiveness of young males to attract prospective mates. Filmed in 1989, the Wodaabe has become one of the most featured African tribe in natural history but remains to be one of the most elusive to the Western world because of their continued adherence to it s nomadic traditions. Herzog says that it the film was provides a brief glimpse into the world of the Wodaabe, of lifestyle that is fast becoming extinct but remains to be fascinating (Herzog, 2001).
The opening of the film featured the young men of the Wodaabe preparing for the Gerewol. The scenes imagery in itself could be incongruous but combined with an archaic recording of Ave Maria it is not surprising that some viewers would find the film at first quiet perplexing (Herzog and Sandrin, 1989). Personally, at the beginning I was not even sure whether it was men or women preparing for the festival. Though the Gerewol is now a tourist attraction with spectators in their thousands annually making the pilgrimage into the Sahara just to see this Wodaabe ritual, when the film was being filmed, very few people knew anything about it. This may be one of the reasons why one is given the impression of being the film itself as someone dropped into the middle of the festival. Though the film is a documentary, it lacks the anthropological perspective that many of similar films focus on. In more contemporary media, it seems more like a reality show than a documentary.
However, one can easily find himself becoming immersed with the life of the Wodaabe. It was not so much being absorbed but more like being carried away into a world that seems so foreign from ones own context but on some primeval level, familiar. Yes, seeing men being the ones engaged in something akin to a beauty pageant is not something one sees every day but the use of physical attractiveness to attract partners is familiar (Berger, 2005). Yes, men donning elaborate costumes and make up borders on the disturbing, but then again, the cosmetics and aesthetics industry is one largest industry globally. The Wodaabe is characterized as a very traditional and conservative community, but their attitudes towards sex and relationships undoubtedly raised eyebrows (Beckwith, 1983).
    During the Gerewol, usually held in September and marking the start of the dry season, men wear elaborate make-ups and costumes to present themselves with the idealized features of male beauty. In the film the festival documented occurred after a prolonged drought and was well attended showing also the variances between subgroups. For the Wodaabe, there is preference for men with fine features, tall and lithe, with white eyes and teeth. Some of the participants looked effeminate or at the very least androgynous (Sherrow, 2001). In addition, the men display their physical prowess with the performance of the Yaake, dances and songs that are designed to serenade the tribes women and at display their athleticism. The winners are selected by women who are considered to be the fairest among the women in attendance (Berger, 2005).
    Reflecting on the rituals involved, there are realizations of the dichotomies and even contradictions in the event rituals and more general customs and traditions of the tribe. The film shows that there is a distinct gender reversal though the Wodaabe afford more freedom to women in relationships than other tribes, the degree of power or choice they are given during the event is still remarkable (Bovin, 2001). Moreover, though there is emphasis in masculinity of the male participants, the prescribed costumes and cosmetics actually create a feminine look (Berger, 2005).
    According to the film, the first marriage of the Wodaabe is pre-arranged and contracted by parents with the families of the same patrilinear line. However, men are allowed to have four wives of their choice. Though women are not allowed to formally take more than one husband at a time, there is no restriction in having sexual relationships before marriage and even after marriage if with consent of the womans husband. However, in terms of division of labor, the Wodaabe follow the set-up of most other African tribes wherein women bear the most burden of work which include the maintenance of the household, care for children and gathering of provisions (Bovin, 2001). In general mens work is limited to pastoral duties and caring for livestock. There is a high regard for children. However, the Wodaabe first and second child are given to the care of grandparent, with parents not allowed having any interaction with them or even verbally recognizing them as their children (Herzog and Sandrin, 1989).
    For the Wodaabe, freedom is being able to practice the traditions and lifestyle of their ancestors. Though there are distinct incorporations of Islam into their culture, they remain for the most part true to their ancestral beliefs. Because of their reliance on seasonal rains to feed their herds, the Wodaabe believe of the need to minimize ones impact to the environment. Work is considered to be the main means of economic and social enrichment and dominates the daily life of the tribe above all other activities (Berger, 2005). The tribe considers its herd as not only its greatest source of wealth but also as a sign or the familys success. As such, livestock are not consumed for their meat and thus, milk and milk-derived products dominate their diet. This focus on their work is a source of pride for the Wodaabe, their clothes they weave pastoral expertise and craftsmanship are sought after in the regions that they travel through.
    Before Herzogs Wodaabe - Herdsmen of the Sun, the impression was that all African tribes are the same. That any difference was more because of geography and politics. However, with the release of the film, the rest of the world was made to see just how much diversity exists among tribes in Africa. This perspective will eventually give rise to more sensitive anthropological research into indigenous peoples traditions and cultures. Thus, a study of the evolution of the Wodaabe culture as well as how it was able to subsist despite the influx of new cultures and regimes provides researchers and viewers alike a glimpse into a new world which is also a very old one. Inc contrast to city life, the existence of the Wodaabe is harsh. But seeing how closely their community is, how at peace they are with their environment and how much joy they find in their daily life, one questions the rationale of modernity. There are undoubtedly areas of improvement in the film. It is easy enough to see that by todays documentary standards, the film can be considered be lacking.  However, for its time the film is a hallmark not only cinematically but also in terms of the limited view then of what it meant to be an indigenous group and ultimately, what humanity, culture and civilization truly means.

My Personal Statement.

I started out early in life with a great desire to be unique in everything I do. I wanted to be outstanding and really show the world that I have a great potential in me. I worked hard right from the start and was awarded with great results at each stage of my academic and developmental pursuit. At each stage in my pursuit, I have always ranked mostly among the top 10 of my class, graduating in the first divisions right from the Modern School in India (the equivalent of High School) all through to my present level (M. Sc in progress).
However, at a time in my life, I came to realise that there is more to life than just personal excellence and satisfaction. I realised that I needed to influence the lifes of the people around me. The aspiration to be a positive contribution to the society sprang up in me at this time and it this was this desire that has redirected my life. I began to see the need to divest my energy and potential into becoming a blessing to humanity. Though I have had my background in the sciences and engineering especially, I considered that Social Anthropology would be a more beneficial course for me to pursue. Since this course involves studies about humankind, its culture and development, I believe that it will enhance my knowledge about humanity in general. With a more informed background about humanity, I will be better equipped to understand humanity, appreciate the problems and challenges faced by humankind all over the world (and especially in my country, India) and be better equipped to proffer feasible solutions to these problems. I am now of the strong opinion that this desire gives me a better definition of excellence and success in life. This was my main motive for aspiring to further my study in Social Anthropology.
As an applicant to the MPhil in Social Anthropology course being offered by the School of Anthropology and Museum Ethnography, University of Oxford, UK, I truly believe that my background and education in engineering and science will be handy in being the problem solver that I have aspired to be. In addition, to further my versatility and potential for pursuing a career in Social Anthropology, I have also undergone a foundation class in the social sciences with a major study focus on Contemporary India (M. Sc in Contemporary India) at the School of Inter Disciplinary Area Studies, also at the University of Oxford. My reasoning for this is that this course will ultimately provide me with a unique opportunity to better understand the diverse range of challenges my country faces today, thus paving the path for my humble contributions toward bringing forth worthwhile solutions to these challenges. Besides, it is supposed to serve as a platform for enlisting myself in studying Social Anthropology. I am anticipating that the MPhil programme will be a way of building up the knowledge and skills acquired during the Contemporary India M. Sc programme.   
One University that I have desired to be is the Oxford University in the United Kingdom. I see my present admission to pursue Masters Degrees in the University as a plus for my career attainment. The institution is renowned for its great accomplishments and success. The facilities and faculties are tested and the accolades they enjoy runs across the globe. I have cherished this opportunity and I believe I will be well prepared by this institution for my desired career than any other institution would have done. Indeed, my experience for the past two years as a Masters degree student in the institution is unparalleled and I think I will be worthwhile to further my studies with the school all through to the Ph. D level (on completion of my MPhil, I would like to move onto pursuing a DPhil). 
In addition, I can also say that I possess the strength of character and motivation that will suit both this course and the Oxford University as a whole. I am systematic in my thought processes and enjoy solving problems and logic puzzles. I thrive on learning new techniques, responding to teachings and always extremely determined in achieving my goals. My experience at the University so far has presented me with many extra-curricular opportunities, which I have approached with extreme enthusiasm. I have, for example achieved a half-blue in Air Pistol Shooting, a sport in which I have represented India in the Munich and Milan world cups in 2008. Along with sports, I also thrive in the busy social life of St. Hildas College where I have been a Womans officer for the MCR for two consecutive terms a role, which requires adequate communication skills and team work.
After I might have obtained the necessary education and experience from the Oxford University, I would like to return to India and work in the development field through the auspices of the numerous NGOs whose dedication is towards heralding a new era of sustainable development and equitable growth in India. In the larger scheme of things, I see myself using my education and training at Oxford as a means of helping others in an immerse way. I am sure that, with this degree, I can always give back to society as I have always dreamt about. Doing this will not be a new experience for me in any case. For instance, during my vacations in 2006 I worked for Luna Chemicals Pvt. Ltd. as a trainee engineer. This not only required me to transfer knowledge and skills from my academic training but also involved working on the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) being undertaken on the river Sabarmati in Gujarat, India- an excellent insight into how companies can help or hinder the efficiency of bio fuel production. In other cases, I have worked extensively as a volunteer with the Green Peace Society and SOS Villages in India. Besides these many of my academic and research works have focused on way of ensuring sustainable growth in India (reference to my papers on sustainable bio fuel production and environmental pollution).  
At the time I will return to India, my education and development should have placed me on a better pedestal to be more effective in contributing to the development of my country India and to that of humanity all over the world. The possibility of being able to contribute to the cause of sustainable development and equitable growth in India is the main reason why I have selected the field of Social Anthropology as the profession that I will pursue. I am sure that the future is very bright both for me and for humankind at large, as Eleanor Roosevelt once said, The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams