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Economic Botany

, Volume 60, Issue 4, pp 321–334 | Cite as

Antes and Hoy DÍa: Plant knowledge and categorization as adaptations to life in Panama in the Twenty-First Century

  • Nina K. MÜller-SchwarzeEmail author

Abstract

Ethnobotanical studies often assume plant knowledge is shared by all members of an arbitrarily bounded human group. By describing the uses and local categorization of plants in one village in rural Panama in a heteroglossic approach, the different knowledges within a village are presented in one article. Plants used in the daily work of women and men, and the work of village spe-cialists are described. Villagers negotiate changing realities by adapting plant use and knowl-edge; this is reflected in local categorization of plant names into antes and hoy dia. Unlike the established ethnobotanical assumption that bounded units of plant knowledge are dying, the younger generations of villagers, who work both within and outside the village, know more plants useful to their changing economic opportunities. Subsistence agriculturalists possess the adaptive plant knowledge skills to be stewards of the environment.

Key words

Panama Coclé peasants ethnobotany heteroglossia memory 

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Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden Press 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyTulane UniversityNew Orleans

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