The Kung San Society

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An Inside Look at the !Kung/San The !Kung/San people are thought to be the oldest known society in the history of mankind. Their model of society is the base for most advanced societies today, even though they were formally considered to be primitive. The word primitive is no longer applied in anthropology because it involves an ethnocentric view; which judges other culture based on your own, instead of trying to understand them from that culture’s perspective. These people are also considered the original affluent society as stated by Marshall Sahlins. Their affluence is considered to be high due to their ability to live fully on very little supplies and do not have a materialistic desire. The ethnography written by Marjorie Shostak called …show more content…
Men go out on hunting groups and these expeditions usually last about 4 days. During this time they stalk an animal and figure out its patterns in order to assure they capture it. Whenever a kill is made, the whole carcass is brought back to the village and is completely utilized and distributed equally among the tribe. The other parts like skin, hooves and antlers are also used throughout the group for various purposes, since the access to meat is limited, the !Kung/San take complete advantage of any animal remains “nothing will be left behind or wasted” (Shostak, 74). However, when a woman comes back from gathering, the goods are evaluated “!Kung women may control the distribution of their gathered products” (Shostak, 218) this distribution is made between her family and the rest of the village. Most of the children are left in the village when men or women go out to search for food. This is for their safety and it usually makes the search more efficient for the parents when they do it without their children. The elders look over the children when they are unattended by their parents. There is a large level of trust and sense of community among the …show more content…
When the child is born the man is discouraged from being present and the woman had the right to commit infanticide immediately after birth before the father even meets the child. Balancing out these responsibilities, one could say the men and women are equally important. The one true advantage men have in the !Kung/San society is that they have legislative power in family decisions. Since there is no official form of hierarchy, “decisions are made on the basis of a group consensus[...]each group has individuals whose opinions carry more weight than those of others – because of age or other attributes” (Shostak, 220). Usually in these decisions the men tend to be more outspoken than the women. Elders’ opinions are very valued due to their vast amount of knowledge and wisdom over the younger

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