Malnutrition And Food Aid Programs: A Case Study From Guatemala Page: 4
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integration: 1) biocultural equilibrium, a relatively stable state in
which there are no major disruptions or fluctuations with respect to
either of the individual clusters, 2) unstable biocultural equilibrium,
in which the system eventually goes askew as the result of some im-
balance in at least one of the clusters, but eventually is brought back
into a proper adjustment by a "reshuffling" in the system, and, 3) bio-
The major differences between the first two modes of biocultural
integration and that of biocultural disequilibrium is that they have
built-in mechanisms for restoring the system to equilibrium but a
system that is in the state of disequilibrium does not. Johnston and
Selby (1978: 580) state:
...sometimes systems get out of equilibrium to such an ex-
tent that they cannot restore themselves by available con-
trol mechanisms. They go into a "downward spiral." Two
things can happen. First, the system may change to such an
extent that it is no longer recognizable as the system it
was. Second, the system may destroy itself.
According to Johnston and Selby, this biocultural disequilibrium
resulting in the downward spiraling system is especially evident in
the traditional Mesoamerican village as exemplified in Guatemala. These
villages are kept going only by external forces and/or inputs. Further-
more, this breakdown becomes most significantly exhibited in the nutri-
tional and health state of the people involved and, in particular,
their children, resulting in a "spiraling effect" in malnutrition as
well. The end result of this biocultural and, specifically, nutri-
tional breakdown is what Bryan Roberts (1973) refers to as the "rural
collapse" in which, as Johnston and Selby (1978: 593) so aptly put it,
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Rodeheaver, Daniel Gilbert, 1954-; Bates, Frederick L. & Murphy, Arthur D. Malnutrition And Food Aid Programs: A Case Study From Guatemala, report, May 1982; (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc84342/m1/17/: accessed April 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT College of Public Affairs and Community Service.