Marshall, Lorna. The !Kung Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert

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Publication Information


Title: The !Kung Bushmen of the Kalahari Desert

Published in: Peoples of Africa, edited by James L. Gibbs, Jr.

Published By: Peoples of Africa, edited by James L. Gibbs, Jr. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1965. 243-278 p.: ill., maps

By line: Lorna Marshall

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2005. Computer File

Culture: San (FX10)

Subjects: CULTURAL SUMMARY (105);

Abstract: This summary article on the !Kung San was written by a cultural anthropologist especially for this volume. The authenticity of her descriptions derives from a decade of field research experience among the San. Due to its recency and comprehensiveness the reader should examine this source prior to consulting other specific material in the San file. The author's theoretical outlook is ecological -- using data on San environmental adaptations, resource potentials of their habitats, population-settlement sizes and distributions in order to develop some functional generalizations about the relations between San subsistence economy and the nature of the sociopolitical institutions, implying that the level of productivity sets limits to the sociocultural forms that arise. Stress is put on the significance of kinship reciprocity and its relations to food gathering and seasonal movements, extensive regional kinship bonds, and the egalitarian political structure. Her ethnographic description is excellent, especially her notations on the religious-ritual complex, life cycle and socialization, the kinship basis of headmanship and group leadership, and material culture and technology. Also found are brief interpretations of San historical origins and affinities, the kinship correlates of the naming relationship in uniting the bands, the family cycle, and the effects of acculturation. The introductory comments on pages 241-242 were written by the editor, James L. Gibbs, Jr.

Document Number: 15

Document ID: fx10-015

Document Type: Journal Article

Language: English

Note: The footnotes at the end of the article are on pages 273-275. The footnotes have been indexed for the categories to which they specifically pertain.

Field Date: 1951-1961

Evaluation: Cultural Anthropologist-5

Analyst: Gilbert Winer ; 1967

Coverage Date: 1951-1961

Coverage Place: Nyae Nyae region, Namibia and Botswana

LCSH: San (African people)


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