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The San

In: Historical Events

Submitted By emersonbigns
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The San

ANT 101
Bruce Carruthers
16 July 2012

Kinship is an important part of survival, especially for foraging societies. Foraging, or hunting and gathering, is the oldest form of human society. The San, or “Bushman”, are one of the most known communities and they date back thousands of years. I will identify and describe the kinship system of the San, and I will describe how the culture is impacted by their kinship. Last, I will compare the San to my own society and the impact kinship has in my own life. The San have many kinship systems that are important to insure their continued existence. I will discuss the kinship system as it is related to food, conflict, and marriage. The San are hunters and gathers and food is part of surviving. The San follow a form of exchange in which no tabs are kept, or generalized reciprocity (Nowak & Laird, 2010). This means that all the food is collected and distributed equally through out the group. This means that no one will go hungry. This has a lot of impact on their culture as well. It prevents an excess of wealth, so no one is rich or poor. It insures everyone is healthy and reinforces social ties with their kin. “Kinship is the central organizing principle” (Nowak & Laird, 2010, Managing conflict, para. 1). There is limited property and everyone shares food so there are limited major conflicts among the San. Since the San’s kinships are so strong, arguments are the extent of their conflict. Most conflict comes from complaints of other kin frustrated about the behavior of others (Nowak & Laird, 2010). The closeness of each person in the group means that everyone knows everyone and this creates stress between kin that feel that someone is either not pulling their weight, or being arrogant. Since the San do not have any order or rank among them, they follow a hierarchy. The San have...

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