Kung rituals, beliefs, social structure, marriage and kinship system. It documents their determination to take hold of their own destiny, despite exploitation of their habitat and relentless development to assert their political rights and revitalize their communities. Since the publication of the Third Edition in , Richard Lee has made eight further trips to the Kalahari, the most recent in and The Dobe and Nyae Nyae Areas have continued to transform and the people have had to respond and adapt to the pressures of capitalist economics and bureaucratic governance of the Namibian and Botswana states.
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Kung covers the changes in their culture from all the way up through the nineties. He starts with notes on the Ju language. In the first chapter Lee explains his arrival to the Dobe. He recalls a conversation with the man who greeted him. One particular quote from this offers some serious foreshadowing for topics covered later in the text. They are right above South Africa, between Angola and Botswana. The subsequent five chapters then lay out various aspects of!
Who they are, where they live, what they do, how they live together, and how they marry are among these. They are a san people, in that they speak a click language.
Chapter 3 deals with the surrounding geography and how settlements are built around it. The people divide the surrounding area into four types- dines, flats, melapo, and hardpan.
Melapo areas are filled with small trees. They operate on a four-season schedule with two rainy seasons. The varying amounts of rain during these seasons lead to the creation of different village types. Within these villages are huts and structures developed in rings around each other.
Chapter 4 highlights their hunting and gathering techniques. The people use simple tools made from their direct environment to hunt prey and gather plants. Pages 44 and 45 offer diagrams that illustrate how human carries the weight. Lee also brings up the idea of insulting the meat as part of the hunting ritual. This act involves the people of the village not being excited about their kill, and getting made fun off for it. As we will see later, this helps to keep the egalitarian nature of their society.
Also in the early chapters is the idea of ownership. The Dobe people follow the idea that the kill during a hunt belongs to the person who made the weapon used. Chapter 5 handles the role of kinship, after a short digression by Lee about how he got his village name.
Finally, chapter 6 involves marriage and sexuality. The Dobe people still are sexually active, but there are different marriage ceremonies. Arranged marriage, marriage by capture, plural marriage, and as we are familiar with- remarriage. Chapters get more theoretical. A lot of interesting things are said about the role of kinship and the elderly.
What Lee refers to as a complaint discourse, gives a summary of the way in which the Ju keep their social life in order. The way they live is basically egalitarian according to Lee, but it is not naturally so. They have to work at keeping it that way.
They complain and deprecate each other to stop the creation of an ego or arrogance. One special form of this complaint method is a practice known as insulting the meat. Lee does not talk about how the! So the first few chapters make them seem like an isolated culture, free from capitalist grip. Even in the nineties, the Ju still have hunter-gatherer qualities about them.
Lee covers these pretty fully, but I think he misses something. The apparent changes are the result of outside influence. I say that its not tylorian or boasian. Yes No 12 of 12 readers found this comment helpful.
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