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The Kinship System of the San

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The Kinship System of the San Vannell Berrien ANT 101 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology Dr. Ilda Jiménez y West January 28, 2013

THE KINSHIP SYSTEM The Kinship System of the San The San of the Kalahari, also known as Bushmen, is the oldest culture in the world dating back over a hundred thousand years ago. The Kalahari Desert, reaching across South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia, is home to some of the most inhospitable lands in the world. The San have a unique language, which incorporates a distinct “click” sound when they are talking. The San have no leader, constantly move around to find new sources of food, and are autonomous when making decisions to stay with a community or move elsewhere. In fact, they are so peaceful that “conflict or disruptive behavior is rare. These communities have no rulers, no written laws, no formal rule enforcers, and no formal mechanisms for controlling, capturing, or punishing rule breakers” (Nowak & Laird, 2010, sec. 3.6). This is due to the small size of their band, their claim to little or no private property, and the fact that food is shared with everyone in the community. Furthermore, San societies are relatively smaller than most societies due to their constant moving to find new areas to forage. Moreover, the San, known for their skills as hunters and gatherers comprise most of their diet from big game, roots and tubers. In the same way, the men of the San culture hunt big game while the women gather or forage for roots, grains and tubers. The kinship system of the San culture influences the way this culture think, act and live by the way they share food and resources, the way they view marriage and divorce, and how they resolve conflict within their community. In addition, we will examine how these behaviors compare to American culture. Kinship is defined as a “System of...

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