Which one of the following comes closest to capturing what the phrase "purely social phenomena" means in line 55?

AllisonL on September 15, 2019

Why is D incorrect?

Why is (a) a better answer than (d)?

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SamA on October 11, 2019

Hello @AllisonL,

I believe that the problem with answer choice D is the word "intentionally." The author describes the process of path and clearing development on line 47. The creation of clearings does not seem to be a planned or intentional process, but rather one that occurred through repeated usage of paths. This usage led to the concentration of more people in these areas.

A is better, because "purely social phenomena" serves to reject previous concepts about woodland clearings. Perhaps they were not created for food procurement, but rather out of fear of the wilderness. This explains how the clearings could have been created without an economic reason.

sprozes on December 12, 2019

Thank you

anadolorit on June 3 at 05:19PM

Consider these lines from the passage:

. But while some ethnographic evidence has been used to
.bolster the resource-procurement model, other
.ethnographic evidence may suggest a different vision,
.a noneconomic one, of why clearings may have been
.deliberately created and/or used.

The last line is evidence that he thinks clearings were intentionally created, just not for economic purposes. Also, if fear of the wilderness is a reason to use these paths repeatedly, that is still an intentional use of paths and, therefore, clearings. The intention: to protect themselves from the wild.

Thus, I still do not understand why D is wrong. The passage ends with an example of how these clearings, now described as social phenomena, have advantages (resting). So if D hits both the intentions and the benefits, why is it wrong?

The only thing I can think of, and it feels like a stretch, is the use of "purely" as an adverb. If it was purely social, I guess that excludes economic reasons. (?) This feels like a stretch because economics is a social science involving social phenomena. The American Economics Association describes economists as " using models... to explain social phenomena."

So, yeah. I don't know. But I would love an answer.

Emil-Kunkin on June 4 at 10:42PM

Hi. This question isn't asking what the author thinks in general, it's asking how the author used a specific phrase. What we are asked to define are purely social phenomena, in this case meaning clearings that were created were paths met and people would stop to rest.

This reads to me as a clearing that accumulated over the years as people would stop to rest where two paths met. This is the opposite of being an intentional creation.