Ju/Hoansi Kung Of The Kalahari Case Study

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The Ju/’hoansi-!Kung of the Kalahari Desert

Until about 10,000 years ago, everyone in the world subsisted by hunting and gathering wild foods. According to Richard Borshay Lee, hunter-gatherers used their knowledge of the land that surrounded them to exercise their variety of strategies of foraging for food, and their life necessities. Over the next thousand years, agriculture has replaced foraging as the main subsistence practice, but some hunter-gatherers lived on in isolated areas of the world. Richard Lee and Megan Biesele conducted a study in the early 1960s to describe the important features of one of the last standing foraging groups, known as the Ju/’hoansi-!Kung residing in the Kalahari Desert (Lee 109). Please reference figure 1
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The first notion is that hunter-gatherers heavily depend on hunting for game animals. The second notion is the assumption that their way of life is a precarious and arduous one (Lee 110). In order to challenge these two notions, Lee assesses the day-to-day activities of !Kung life as foragers. Richard Lee challenges notion one by stating that based on his research study, of the !Kung Bushman of the Kalahari Desert, that plant, and marine resources are more important and consumed more in their diets than game animals (Lee 110). According to Richard Lee 's findings, the !Kung Bushmen do not depend on game animals for survival, as anthropologists of the 1960s supported. For instance, Lee’s study revealed that the !Kung’s camp was self-sufficient and its members moved in and out each day to hunt and gather, and they returned in the evening to pool the food that was collected, and distributed the food in equal shares among all members (Lee 11). Because of the consistent movement and strong emphasis on sharing, as a result, the storing of excess food was kept to a minimum (Lee 111). For the !Kung people 60 to 80% of the total diet comprised of vegetable foods, and it was mainly done by women in 2 to 3 days of work per woman per week (Lee 112). On the other hand, men collected vegetables and small animals, however, most of their contributions of …show more content…
In addition, Lee recorded all the daily activities of the Bushmen living at the Dobe waterhole and he discovered that “the adults of the Dobe camp worked about two and a half days a week (Lee 118).” The average work week was approximately six hours long, the fact emerges is that !Kung Bushmen spent about twelve to nineteen hours a week obtaining food and the remaining time spent it on other activities (Lee 112). Lee elucidates that because the Bushmen do not accumulate a surplus of food, there are no seasons of intensive work that tend to occur in agriculture such as planting and harvesting, and also there are no seasons of unemployment (Lee 118). The level of work that Lee observed reflected the energy required to meet the caloric needs of the members of Dobe camp (Lee 118). As the seasons progressed from wet to dry the number of hours hunting and gathering increase just up to thirteen to nineteen hours per week (Lee 119), with the hardest working man, ≠oma, putting in thirty-two hours per week on a dry season (Lee

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