The San of the Kalahari Desert The San also known as “Bushmen” are one of the well-known foraging and hunting communities. They have made the Kalahari Desert located in Southwest Africa their home for many years. These communities are called bands that consist of multifamily groups with a size ranging from 25 to 50 people. “Family, marriage, and kinship, gender, and age are the key principles of social organizations in foraging societies” (Nowak & Laird, 2010. Section 3. 7).
In this paper you will have a brief understanding of the kinship system of the San Tribe, as well as how their environment influences their behavior and interactions. The nuclear family would consist of a mother, father and their children. This family is considered the most common in the foraging societies because they are able to adapt to various conditions. Bands are made up of several multifamily groupings such as nuclear families. It is very important how these families are related because it will determine how they will act towards each other.
The bands will sometime include extended family members which will be beneficial in circumstances such as cooperation and sharing amongst the community. Both men and women work together to provide for the community as a whole. Women are responsible for 80% of the san diet (Nowak & Laird, 2010). Women are the primary gathers; their diet is consisting mostly of nuts and fruit. The men are responsible for 20% of the diet. They provide meat from their hunts. The women are able to gather enough food that will last a full week in two to three days.
They can enjoy each other’s company the rest of the time. The men and women work together by mentioning areas of vegetation or animals they may come across on their gathering and hunting trips. The good and services produced by the men and women are shared amongst the community. They rely on each other for the gathering and hunting of food. Everyone’s participation is very important. There is an unspoken promise on the exchange of the goods and services. This is called reciprocity, “a mutual, agreed-upon exchange of goods and services. Reciprocity works well n a society in which food items need to be consumed quickly due to spoilage” (Nowak & Laird, 2010. Section 3. 3). Foragers have to stay mobile, so there is no room for stock piles of food or goods. Everything has to be used immediately; there is no need for storage because they can always get what they need from the environment. This type of reciprocity would be generalized, there are no expectations for nothing in return, in due time everything will work it- self out. The men are not always successful in their hunts but when they are the meat is prepared and distributed throughout the community.
This will also be the same for the food that comes from the gatherings that the women go on as well. This insures that everyone is fed and that both men and women do not have to look for food every day. Everyone takes their turns in providing for the entire band. These interactions promote close bonds and social ties. They are not only sharing with just their neighbors but these are also their kin, no one is an unfamiliar person in these communities. In the San Tribe no one is of more value to another. Since everyone shares everything it leaves little room for jealousy.
As in our society, we do not forage, we can pretty much walk in any store and purchased pre-prepared food and goods. There is little thought put into where our food will come from or where we live. The most important thing for us would be making sure we have the funds to be able to do the things that we would like to and purchase the things that we absolutely need. We focus on the needs of our immediate family such as our partners, children and parents vs. considering our communities. I feel that in our society most people are for self only. No one is really willing to help each other no more.
I believe that if we had kinship systems in placed things would be a lot better. We could all come together and be there for each other. Making sure everyone has something and no one is left without. There are services shared among my neighbors such as lawn services, babysitting and clothing. We do these things for each other never expecting anything in return. References Nowak, B. & Laird, P. (2010) Cultural Anthropology. Retrieved from https://content. ashford. edu/books/AUANT101. 10. 2/sections/sec3. 7 (EBOOK) https://content. ashford. edu/books/AUANT101. 10. 2/sections/sec3. 3 (EBOOK)
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