Wiessner, Pauline Wilson, 1947-. Hxaro: a regional system of reciprocity for reducing risk among the !Kung San

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Chapter I Theoretical Framework

Theory Of Risk Minimization

Risk Minimization In Hunter-gatherer Societies

Chapter Ii Background, Environment, Population, And Traditional Way Of Life

Background And Environment

Plant Resources

Animal Resources

The San Population

Health Status

Traditional Subsistence Strategies And Prevention Of Loss

Gathering Strategies And Allocation Of Land

Seasonal Use Of Plant Resources

Hunting Strategies

Chapter Iii Worker, Miner, Farmer, Chief, Hunter, Gatherer, Beggar, Thief?: Culture Change Hunting And Gathering A Living In Present Day Botswana

History Of Change

The Opportunities Of Change

Work For The Herero




Migrant Labor

Traditional Options Closed By Change

Ways Of ‘making A Living’ At /ai/ai

Chapter Iv Social Relationships And Access To Goods, Services And Resources

Consanguineous Kin 1

Affinal Xin

The Name Relationship

The Hxaro Relationship

The Rights Of Kin, Affinal, Name And Hxaro Relationships


Food Sharing

Distributing Non-food Items

Chapter V Placement Of Hxaro Ties And Extension Of Obligation Through Hxaro Chains

Placement Of Obligations Through Direct Hxaro Ties

Hxaro And The Life Cycle



Young Adults

Adults With Mature Children

Old Age

Hxaro Chains And The Extension Of Reciprocal Obligations

Hxaro Chains

Segments Of Hxaro Chains

Deviations Of Hxaro Chains

Return Of Gifts

Creating Ties In Other Bands

Chapter Vi Distribution Of Hxaro Partners

Predictions For The Distribution Of Hxaro Ties

Distribution Of Hxaro Partners By Ability

Distribution Of Hxaro Partners By Kinship

Distribution Of Hxaro Partners In Space

The Role Of Men And Women In Hxaro

Distribution Of Hxaro Partners By Age

Chapter Vii San Social Groups

Prediction Of Groups From Risk

The San View Of Social Groups

The Core

Camp A

Camp B

Camp C

Camp D

Camp E

Camp F

Camp H

Summary Of Changes In Camp Structure

Camps In An Area

The Dialect Group

Wealth Differences In San Society

Chapter Viii Risk Sharing In Other Hunter-gatherer Societies

The Effect Of Kinship On Reciprocity

Equality Of Wealth


The Change To Food Production

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: Hxaro: a regional system of reciprocity for reducing risk among the !Kung San

Published By: Original publisher Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms International. 1978 [1988 copy]. 3, 55, 404 leaves ill.

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication Pauline Wilson Wiessner

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2005. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. San (FX10)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Gift giving (431); Community structure (621); Kin relationships (602); Theoretical orientation in research and its results (121); Organization and analysis of results of research (128); Social relationships and groups (571);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This source examines how the San form social ties to balance out daily, seasonal and yearly variation in subsistence resources and what effect these ties have on the structure, composition and flexibility of social groups. The author finds that relations of mutual reciprocity -- hxaro, or gift-giving, and sharing -- are a means of assuring each family a steady subsistence income. She finds that hxaro ties, in particular, are useful in minimizing subsistence risks because ties between hxaro partners form chains of obligation that assure each individual access to resources over a wide area. She also finds that in hxaro relationships the San are careful to select partners according to personality traits, abilities and areas of land rights, but usually with little regard to age or sex. According to the author, three major social groupings result from the ties of mutual reciprocity: core groups of close kin, groups of cooperating cores, or bands, and dialectical or breeding populations residing in particular areas. As one moves out from the core towards the dialectical group, the strength of group identity and stability decrease, however, the social ties at each level are integral to assuring a steady subsistence income. Although filedwork is centered on the ai ai community on the northern margins of the Kalahari desert, it does discuss HXARO trade partnerships which extend over a wide region.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 20

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. fx10-020

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Note: UM78-04841 Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, 1977 Includes bibliographical references (p. 397-404)

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1973-1975

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Ethnologist-5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. Gerald Reid ; 1988

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 1975-1977

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) ai ai and environs, northwest Botswana

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings San (African people)


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