The concept of hybridization and its contribution to urban ethnobiology

Ana Haydeé Ladio, Ulysses Paulino Albuquerque


Both ethnozoological and ethnobotanical studies carried out in cities mention the complexity of these cases and the need for shortcuts to aid understanding of the different social, cultural, economic and ecological processes which interact. In this work we propose and discuss a possible shortcut that could be useful in studies related to urban ethnobiology, the use of the concept of process of hybridization. Particularly, we show in the case of the study of medicinal plant use in cities that the hybridization process can be detected and described in a more complete way if we take into account some sub processes such as: fusion or juxtaposition, re-localization, recombination, restructuring, special segregation, new developments in production, circulation and consumption and simultaneous coexistence of different symbolic universes. We propose that these seven processes could be used as a quali-quantitative check list in future urban ethnobiological studies in order to visualize, contextualize and characterize hybridization more profoundly.


Medicinal Plants; South America; Modernization

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