The !Kung San: Men, Women and Work in a Foraging Society

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CUP Archive, Dec 12, 1979 - Social Science - 560 pages
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For most of human history hunting and gathering was a universal way of life. Richard Borshay Lee spent over three years conducting fieldwork among the !Kung San, an isolated population of 1,000 in northern Botswana. When Lee began his work in 19863, the !Kung San were one of the last of the world's people to live this life. By 1973, when Lee last lived with the group, it appeared that they !Kung were a society on the threshold of a transformation that signalled the end of foraging as an independent way of life, at least in Africa. The !Kung San: Men, Women and Work in a Foraging Society, an ecological and historical study, is Professor Lee's major statement on his research. By maintaining simultaneous historical and synchronic perspectives, Lee is able to extend his analysis of core features from the contemporary !Kung to prehistoric societies. These basic principles become the means to understanding the form of human life that has been obscured by the developments and complications of societies during the last few thousand years.
 

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Contents

Fieldwork with the Kung
8
a question
29
its peoples and their history
39
The environment
87
Technology and the organization
116
An inventory of plant resources
158
The mongongo
182
Hunting
205
Production and reproduction
309
Ownership leadership and the use of space
333
Conflict and violence
370
Economic and social change in the 1960s
401
The lessons of the Kung
432
Appendix A Unraveling the Dobe population
462
Mammals of the Dobe area
474
a note
489

1
244
Men women and work
250
The allocation of nutritional stress
281

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