Anthropologica (New Series) 2003
Biesele, Megan. The Kalahari Peoples Fund: Activist Legacy of the Harvard Kalahari Research Group. Anthropologica, 2003. 45: 79-88.
The Kalahari Peoples Fund has helped the Ju/’hoan people of Namibia and Botswana. With the assistance of other organizations and the people themselves the Ju/’hoan have gained some resource and land rights previously taken from them, established water infrastructure, developed their agriculture and animal domestication, they have been able to put an education system into place and the Ju/’hoan have also gained a political voice.
In Namibia the Ju/’hoan people moved off of the government sponsored land to enable themselves to be independent. They have created a system of foraging, agriculture and craft sales in order to sustain themselves.
The Ju/’hoan have also been able to regain their traditional community, based on kinship. The Ju/’hoan have also established a political system which is now recognized by national and international governments. Each community selects one male representative and one female representative to discuss the issues with the larger Ju/’hoan community.
With the help of the Namibia Government the Nyae Nyae Farmers Cooperative was established. This group is able to gain full support from the Ju/’hoansi because they travel from community to community discussing issues, and projects. Once a decision is made it is with complete support of all involved.
Similar changes have occurred in Botswana. They too have gained land rights that were taken from them; they have also gained political representation and have been able to promote their own culture to both the outside world and their children. Their children are now able, like the Ju/’hoan in Namibia to attend schools which teach their language and culture.
The Kalahari Peoples Fund (KPF) has managed to aid both of these groups through funding and technology as well as information and documented anthropological studies dating back to the 1950’s. All of the people working for the KPF are doing so as volunteers, which mean all of the monetary donations are not being absorbed by administration costs. The KPF are able to use their funds in a more productive manor.
The Kalahari Peoples Fund has a website, www.kalaharipeoples.org, as well as a newsletter to update the public on how the Ju/’hoansi communities are progressing with their fight to gain the rights that they deserve.
SUZANNE DUGGAN York University (Maggie MacDonald).
Brodkin, Karen. On The Politics of Being Jewish in a Multiracial State. Anthropologica, 2003. 2(45): 59 – 68.
The article discusses the construction of Jewish identity in society and the historical events which help to establish it. The author argues that North American Jews, who come from a position of high class and racial priviledge, become “political actors” when they try to connect to today’s movements for social justice that are supposed to be focused on the priorities of low income people of color.
The author discusses the story of the “Triangle Fire” to back up her point that the story created a bridge for Jewish women and men to construct their “Jewishness” or societal identity. The Jews who lost their lives in the blaze suffered through the same oppression and degradation that many colored minorities face today, and thus the identity of the Jew as one who is linked “naturally” to struggles for social justice was born. The example of the Triangle fire is a collective memory, a large part of many Jew’s recollections which help to create their identity. The author further argues that the identity of the Jew changed as Jewish men began to be seen as the ideal american, economically priviledged and equal in every way to Protestant white men. This altered the identity that the Jew was naturally linked to social struggle, as it was a complete contradiction for Jews to be arguing against social injustice and lack of priviledge when Jews were not lacking priviledges or receiving unjust treatment, like other colored minorities.
The final point that the author makes is that Jewish women have lived lives that are seen as being a “minority in a minority”, without the equal status that a Jewish man would have in society, and thus can truly continue to maintain the identity of those who are naturally linked to social injustice, as the Triangle Fire story maintains. The author uses the account of the fire to help prove that at one point Jewish women were oppressed and degraded much like people of color, and thus are truly linked to struggles for social justice and equality. The story does show that at one point Jews were not among the fortunate people to have social rights, and thus Brodkin is proving her point that Jews identity truly is linked to those who are oppressed.
BRANDON GOODMAN York University (Maggie MacDonald).
Brodkin, Karen. On the Politics of Being Jewish in a Multiracial State. Anthropologica, 2003. Vol. 45(1):59-66.
Brodkin states at the beginning of the journal, “Identity making involves more or less strategic selections, interpretations, and deployments of shared stories and images in order to explain oneself to self and to others.” How or why does a person pick the type of identity for a certain situation? Certain identities are expressed and others are hidden to make statement or stand for something that you believe in.
Naomi Siedman defines a “vicarious Jew,” by “Jews that enact their Jewish sense of “otherness,” of being marginal and not of the mainstream in defense of the rights of others who’ve been othered, oppressed and marginalized.” North America is racially oppressive which led the emergence of vicarious Jews. Many Jews now are trying to gain peace for Israel.
The Triangle fire in 1911 was a fire in the Triangle Shirtwaist factory. All the doors were locked and there were no fire escapes. “Many young women garment workers died from the fire or jumping out of the windows to escape it.” The doors were locked to ensure that the women would stay working at their machines. This is a story that has been passed on since 1911, and it’s very likely that it has changed. This story has helped the feminist movement with their cause. For example: there is an exhibit of the Triangle fire at the Los Angeles Museum of Tolerance, and The Triangle fire was the main topic in 1998 at the Feminist Center of the American Jewish Congress. There are also books that have been written about the fire which teach a deeper moral lesson.
There was further tragedy that resulted from the triangle fire, due to the lack of support from the courts. People of all different races are fighting for social justice in the United States and the Triangle fire is a major historical event for Jewish people, and especially Jewish women. Brodkin emphasizes that Jewish women were some of the stronger fighters against oppression.
There was a celebratory story that emerged, which contained a theme that Jews were better than white Protestants. They worked harder, had good strong families, and were strong individuals. This was a much debated story, there were also other stories that contradicted this story. This was all important because is relates to Jewish identities in the eyes of Jews and non-Jews.
There were also many problems with gender in the 1950s. What is considered male when you are a Jewish man? What is a Jewish mother and are they responsible for raising good Jewish sons? Jewish women were labeled Jewish American Princesses (JAPs,) which was tied to bad stereotypes. Jewish men did not have much of a voice in America but the women had even less. But as time passed women gained more power which has opened many doors.
Brodkin ends the journal with “All these stories or collective memories are part of a larger dialogue within the Jewish community today, about the nature of our connections, contradictions and affiliations, about our commitment to social stasis or social transformation.”
CLARITY RANKING: 3
DONNA MUNEKATA University of Hawaii (Heather Young Leslie)
Gailey, Ward, Christine. Community, State and Questions of Social Evolution in Marx’s Ethnological Notebooks. Anthropologica, 2003. 45(2): 45-57.
This article is concerned with Marx’s last writings “The Ethnological Notebooks”, written shortly before his death. The author’s interest in these is Marx’s apparent shift in focus from his previous writings concerned with the dismantling of capitalism. The focus of this work is social formation in primitive pre-capitalist societies both communist and class-based as well as the formation of the state and how it interacts with communities and agency. The author believes that despite this shift in focus the Notebooks deserves attention both by scholars and Marxists. Through her use of the notebooks she is arguing for their validity and importance to understanding the course of Marx’s thought on social transformation and at the same time using them to support her own views on communism.
The importance of community and caring and sharing as vital aspects of humanity and the need for these to be realized and appreciated, is stressed as the main argument throughout the article both in the Enological Notebooks and as a concern of the author herself. She discusses Marx’s rejection of various theories and ideas popular in his time. She discusses his rejection of social evolutionary theories, in which previous society structures are placed on an evolutionary scale with the preceding structures viewed as necessary transitions of growth. Gailey agrees with Marx on the effects of the depletion and endangerment of the community as a result of state oppressions and invading capitalist ideologies. The author stresses that Marx’s continual interest in primitive societies is their characteristics of communalism (caring and sharing) and classless labour division, which directly relates to his idea of Communism. They are seen as necessary to future models of society. The author notes that Marx does not see Capitalism as a transition to Socialism, as Capitalism degrades humanity and diminishes community a necessity for the formation of Socialism. State and state formation in pre-capitalist societies are also explored through the Notebooks, and the contradictions between state and community are emphasized. Where primitive structures (in sense of temporality) persist they are viewed as resistance to state influences. Anthropologists are interested in the Ethnological Notebooks in supporting and defending communal forms and traditions of indigenous people against encroachment of the state ideology and practices.
The author proceeds throughout the article by presenting her views or arguments, each followed by supporting evidence drawn from commentaries and quotes both from Marx’s ethnological notebooks, and his earlier writings. She also includes his correspondence to what other scholars of his time were saying.
GINA PALEOTHODOROS York University (Maggie MacDonald).
Guenther, Mathias. Contemporary Bushman Art, Identity Politics and the Primitivism Discourse. Anthropologica, 2003. 45(1): 95-110.
The melding of politics and identity in present day South Africa can be seen in the San people’s artistry. Guenther’s article tells the story that bridges the gap between the struggle for identity, the power of politics, and how the essence of San art constructs identity in two ways–by tradition-oriented works and present-day contemporary subjects.
San art was first used politically in the 1990’s just after Namibia gained its independence At this time the San were an oppressed minority group in search of its uprooted homeland, national identity and its rights to land claims. In the article, Guenther studied two markets where the San typically sold their wares; they were the Kuru market, and the tent city of Schmidtsdrift. The subjects of San art vary slightly between men and women, and both sexes are encouraged to paint and express their talents from a young age. The women may use their paintings as teaching aids for young children, and they tend to depict veld scenes, which are everyday domestic and ritual scenes. Women’s favorite subjects are plants, birds, insects, and other feminine motifs such as beaded aprons, skirts, and headdresses. Men tend to paint more mythological themes, large veld animals, and in the Kuru Market, the men’s paintings are slightly different from the Schmidtsdrift Market. The artists of the Kuru market are not overly political, and their works tend to be post-modern, portraying Western and traditional elements into their paintings.
The article describes the vast amount of discourse that Westerners hold in the interpretations of the San paintings. These misappropriations spread discriminating classifications on the value of African art, and on the African people. Typically these views flavor what the San artists should paint, and uphold stereotypes as to what a San person should look like. The Western market prefers the veld scenes, and more specifically, the large mammals, since “nobody wants to hang bugs on their walls.” The “primitivism” of San art is what is in demand, and what is being used to sell everything from the original artworks to selling products. Shoved aside are the conflicts of San identity and the political problems of Southern Africa, in favor of the “primitiveness” of San veld art, and the consumption of “traditional” San paintings.
LESLIE R. BREGO York University (Maggie MacDonald).
Hitchcock, Robert.K. Land, Livestock and Leadership among the Ju/’hoansi San of North Western Botswana. Anthropologica, 2003. 45(1): 89-94.
Robert Hitchcock’s article focuses on the obstacles and problems indigenous Africans face in order to gain legal rights to land and resources. In particular, he observes the ways in which the XaiXai and Dobe Ju/’Hoansi San of Botswana have overcome these obstacles, the way in which they have dealt with issues concerning land and resource
rights and the initiatives they took in order to gain greater control of land and resources in Botswana.
In Africa, many indigenous people, like the Ju/’Hoansi have had difficulty obtaining rights to land, water and wildlife resources. Many Ju/’Hoansi were living in small decentralized communities and settlements. Few Ju/’Hoansi in Botswana had been able to build sufficient livestock numbers to be “self-sufficient”. They had high unemployment rates and those with jobs were receiving low wages. Arguing that the Ju/’Hoansi were “mobile hunters and gatherers” and had no need for permanent land rights, the Land Board of Botswana was not willing to grant rights over land for farming. Also, the Botswana government refused to grant land and resource rights to groups, like the Ju/’Hoansi who claimed their rights to land were customary and that their livelihoods traditionally depended upon land. Another issue faced by the Ju/’Hoansi was the fact that the majority of them resided in communities lacking the sufficient number of people (500) to be considered “above the threshold”.
Taking matters into their own hands, the Ju/’Hoansi of XaiXai and Dobe took various initiatives to obtain control over land and resources. One of these initiatives was the establishment of wells which, according to the Tswana Land Board of Botswana customary law, are land improvements worthy of government investments and water rights. Unfortunately, while that initiative failed, other initiatives by the Ju/’Hoansi such as the lobbying of the Botswana government and the formation of The Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA) in which members wrote letters to Botswana’s president and members of parliament requesting recognition of their rights to land and resources as citizens, proved more successful.
In the 1990’s the XaiXai Ju/’Hoansi established the XaiXai Tlhabolo Trust and by 1996, a constitution for the trust was written and agreed upon and the Botswana government granted the XaiXai a wildlife quota which allowed community members to hunt for the subsistence purposes. In 1999, a similar Dobe Trust for Okarango Cultural and Development Initiatives was founded. This trust assisted Dobe Ju/’Hoansi residents in digging wells in order to obtain water rights.
The initiatives taken by the Dobe and XaiXai Ju/’Hoansi San of Botswana has taught them innovative ways to negotiate at that national level. They have since been able to establish community based institutions that receive government attention and they have also been able to create jobs and generate income within their communities. If not for their many initiatives, the Ju/’Hoansi would not have been able to obtain land and resource rights in Botswana.
YOLONDA ABRAHAMS York University (Maggie MacDonald).
Patterson, Thomas C. Subtle Matters of Theory and Emphasis. Anthropologica, 2003. Vol. 45: 31-37
Thomas Patterson used Richard Lee and a couple of others to view the controversies about foraging peoples. Richard Lee contributed much to the study of for- aging societies and was committed to the development of a critical, socially engaged, intergrated anthropology. He took a careful look at the controversies and debates, especially at the theoretical underpinnings. This tells us a great deal about anthropology and its practitioners in the late 20th century. Studies of foraging societies in the last half of the 20th century were marked by an adherence to liberal social thought from Sherry Washburn. (Washburn and Avis, 1958:433-434) Since the mid 1950’s, Washburn has elaborated a complex picture of the development of human society. This idea was under-pinned by the idea that the fundamental universal pattern underlying human life was the hunting adaptation. Mother-young groups and dominance based on personal achievements are rooted in nature. Persisting into human society and becoming the basis for the sexual division of labor. This basically says that men are to hunt and kill and females are to forage for plants and car for the young. Aggression is a fundamental adaptation of the entire primate order. In other words, males engage in dominance behavior because of their prop-ensity to hung and kill. Humans behave reproductively in the context of defined social groups and males compete for mates. (Chagnon, 1979a) Aggressive men usually have more children according to Chagnon’s view. From the 1960’s, anthropologists girded in liberal social theory discussed foraging societies in terms of the inequalities the presumed to exist. Women were naturally subordinate to men. During the 1970’s, mamy became increasingly more explicit about the Marxist theoretical framework that underpinned their research. By the late 1970’s, Lee was inddicating the tempo of processes that were barely perceptable decades earlier were increasing. In the 1980’s, Edwin Wilmsen and James Denbow develped a critique of Lee’s work. Their perception of Lee and other Marxist was that they did not treat forager societies as segments of larger social formations. (Wimsen, 1989) Worlld system theory and dependency theory are internal critiques of the classical and neoclassical economic models of develpment and modernization of the 20th century. People have always been the way they are today. Human nautre is fixed and cannot change.
ALONZO CHOPP III University of Hawaii Manoa (Dr. Leslie)
Pulla, Siomonn. Frank Speck and the Moisie River Incident: Anthropological Advocacy and the Question of Aboriginal Fishing Rights in Quebec. Anthropologica, 2003. 45(1): 129-146.
Pulla looks at government fishing and hunting policies in Upper and Lower Canada (Ontario and Quebec) between 1844 and 1912 and the disastrous effects they had on the Aboriginal people in the area. It pays specific attention to the Innu people of the Moisie River in Lower Canada. Starvation ensued when the policies of the provincial and federal government restricted the Innu from fishing and hunting enough to feed themselves sufficiently. Additionally, the article considers Frank Speck’s role as both an ethnographer and advocate of Aboriginal fishing rights, positions once thought to be mutually exclusive.
With the provincial and federal governments leasing and licensing the rivers and lakes for profit, the traditional hunting and fishing practices of native peoples were disrupted. The Innu were at times given special privileges over the land and waterways but at other times were subjected to the same laws that governed white newcomers: licenses, seasonal fishing, use of certain equipment (i.e. not Aboriginal) and restrictions on commercial selling.
When Speck returned to the Moisie River area to collect Aboriginal artifacts for Edward Sapir and the Victoria Memorial Museum he could not ignore the destitution of the Innu people. The Innu appealed to Speck to help them and he took on their cause, requesting that Sapir use his influence and reputation to lobby the provincial and federal governments. Speck himself wrote government officials on the Innu’s behalf requesting the Innu be allotted the resources they required to survive. He also wrote academic articles to the same effect. Although Speck came to the area to collect artifacts, his knowledge of Innu customs and distress about the plight of the Innu people turned him into an advocate for Native rights. Frank Speck used his ethnographic knowledge to advocate the rights of Aboriginals and by doing so consequently increased his ethnographic knowledge of the Innu.
Pulla uses letters and reports to show the plight of the Innu people as a result of the fishery policies. Records of profit made by the government through the leasing of waterways to sport fishing and commercial fisheries are juxtaposed with reports about the poor state of the Innu written by government officials and Speck. Letters and first hand data by Frank Speck are presented to illustrate his work in dealing with the Quebec government on the Aboriginals behalf.
HEATHER SHUMAN York University (Maggie MacDonald).
Solway, Jacqueline. Politics and Practice in Critical Anthropology: The Work of Richard B. Lee-Introduction. Anthropologica, 2003. 45(1): 3-10.
This article was written as a tribute to Richard B. Lee for a lifetime of contributions to the field of anthropology. It contains five parts based on his previous work, bringing new interpretations of a few of his views. The section on Art, Science, and Politics covers valuable research based on the hunter-gatherer studies and academic politics in general. Solway explains how politics are constantly present in anthropological practices; she also describes how Lee is able to be optimistic and humanitarian in the political arena.
In the next part Solway has chosen to describe Lee’s legacy Ethnographic Impetus to Theory by revealing Lee as a pioneer on the area of ethnographies. He explored the concept of “original affluent society” in terms of hunter-gatherer studies and many other concepts and models in the field which create debate within many academic and political circles.
The third part Theoretical and Ethnographic Basis of Egalitarianism explicates Lee’s contribution to feminist anthropology. To open new paths for women in anthropology he began to expose the labor divisions of primitive societies, and challenged the concept of “primitive patriarchy”. Solway also notes how Lee changed his political views in the 1980s in support of a Marxist view and wrote about self-sustaining primitive societies.
Lee’s work addresses issues of political power and economical inequality in San studies. However in Praxis she shows Lee’s close connection with politics through his Jewish activism and support of the feminist movement in anthropology.
In the final part Ethnography, Lee managed to make it according to Solway an art. She describes his ability to include very detailed information on a wide range of topics from a variety of fields within anthropology; this in addition to the thorough research methodology he applied to his ethnographies with Kalahari and the San society.
To conclude, Solway comments on Lee’s political involvement, describing his work in Southern African countries. Controversial topics such as HIV/AIDS and poverty, along with contributions of the many phases of Lee’s professional life as an ethnographer, and activist are discussed.
SARAH SIFONTES York University (Maggie MacDonald).
Stern, Pamela. Upside-Down and Backward: Time Discipline in a Canadian Inuit Town. Anthropologica, 2003. 45(1):147-162.
Pamela Stern discusses time regulation and the social forces it results in among Canadian Inuit communities. This article examines the method that time discipline is performed and imposed on these indigenous people and how it affects their way of living, socially, economically, and politically. She researched the way in which Inuit communities north of the Arctic Circle (community of the Holman), encompassed a common notion of being, “turned around” or “backwards”, during mid-winter and mid-summer. This was for the reason of the full season of darkness and the full season of light, in which certain members of the native groups would sleep during the day and work or play through out the night. When new limited time disciplines came about, i.e., clock time, calendrical system, weekly patterns and work time frames, many of the Holman people experienced dramatic changes in their culture as a whole.
Stern first illustrates a more recent issue that Nunavut experienced with their time zones, by which the Canadian federal government wanted to unify the territory with one single zone. The citizens of Nunavut rejected this profusely, due to the many negative social consequences they would be faced with, and therefore it never occurred. This example illustrated how time regulation is still enforced presently for the same reasons it was in the past, social and political control. Following this concept Stern traced the changes in the temporal regulation within the community of a Canadian Inuit community of Holman. Through her long-term fieldwork in the attempt to try and understand the transformations that took place, she examined how the temporal regulations affected their economic constitutions, religious traditions, social groupings, leisure time, physical condition, and fertility ideals etc. She demonstrated how all of these customs in their culture were introduced from the outside, and were additionally accompanied by matters such as, snowmobiles, television, and wage labour, which were all implications of modernity. Stern investigated their earlier ways of living, mostly regarding how they conceptualized time in their societies, by which was chiefly seasonal association, and how they ran their societies economically, and politically. Stern accurately documented the Homan’s transitions through the intervention of time regulation, noting the many changes that occurred within their society.
Pamela Stern concluded that for the Holman’s the temporal regime is not simply about the discipline of time, or the influence of modernity. It is alternatively a representation of traditional values that have been engaged to support a new uniformed temporal regime. Additionally, this imposed way of living was found to have a negative affect on many of the indigenous people, and resulted in many social mishaps among several native units. As the history of the Holman illustrated a major social change in result of temporal regime, Stern related back to the issue of the Nunavut time zone disagreement, and simply suggested an alternative to their problem. She contrasted these two examples of time regime to show the different outcomes of each, and furthermore to demonstrate how time is still an imposed regime that is used to organize and control the world.
JENNIFER VAN BARNEVELD York University (Maggie MacDonald).
Susser, Ida. Ju/’hoansi Survival in the Face of HIV: Questions of Poverty and Gender. Anthropologica, 2003. 45(1):121-128.
Written in an ethnographic style Susser’s article of the Ju/’hoansi focuses on the influence of poverty and the independence of women on the spread of the AIDS virus HIV. Susser hopes with these findings that future help can be established in the prevention of the spread of HIV. Susser claims that poverty and the autonomy of women are key factors in which will help in the prevention of the spread of the disease. In partnership with Richard Lee, whose resume includes extensive fieldwork with the Ju/’joansi, Susser has based his findings on detailed observations, and their immersion in the society. Susser discusses how proverty within a capitalistic society ties in with the role of spreading the disease in current societies. Susser also refers to the spreading of the disease by the women their sexuality and how they chose to use a condom or not. Leading from the recent development and concept of women’s autonomy in this society from the effect of modernity versus traditional living.
Both Susser and Lee conduct interviews with the local people of Tsumkwe, Ovambo, Kavango and Herero questioning about the extent of their knowledge of AIDS and if they protect themselves from contracting the disease. Susser splits the article in two headings one regarding the question of poverty and its effects and the other on women’s autonomy. These societies are very vulnerable to the disease, that historic autonomy for women and villages that still hang on to their traditional values of a foraging society are societies that have prevented the spread of HIV. That perhaps educating and supplies will help elevate the prevention of the disease.
EVA TRUONG York University (Maggie MacDonald).
Sylvain, Renee. Class, Culture and Recognition: San Farm Workers and Indigenous Identities. Anthropologica, 2003. 45(1):111-120.
This paper focuses on the methods identity formation among the Nambian San people as well as confronting the problematic issues of defining one’s identity within this society politically for empowerment. Sylvain addresses culture, class, authenticity and autonomy as significant concepts of how indigenous identities are constructed and recognized in Southern Africa. Sylvain discovers how the recognition of identity is critical to the empowerment of the San to rise above the lowest status in society hierarchically.
The San were dominated as a result of colonial rule and apartheid and in turn were placed at the lowest rung of the hierarchical ladder. The indigenous people or “Bushmen” as they were called, were stripped of their cultural identities. It was in this way that Sylvain argued that their identities disappeared as a result of class relationships- by alienating the San from their land and incorporating them into “modern social relationships.” Ultimately, the indigenous people were regarded as the primitive other.
The Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in South Africa (WIMSA) was developed to assist the San in establishing rights as indigenous peoples. It started to matter whether or not San farm worker was a “real” Bushmen.
ALANA MORAN York University (Maggie MacDonald).
Sylvain, Renee. Class, Culture, And Recognition: San Farm Workers And Indigenous Identities. Anthropologica, 2003. Vol. 45(Number 1):111-118
Renee Sylvain takes on a very convoluted issue that challenges major accepted terms such as “culture” and “authenticity.” It outlines the history of the Namibian San in South Africa from their battle with colonization, with reformation afterwards, and with trying to gain land from the government. Many would argue the San should not be given land because they were a traditional hunter-gatherer group with no permanent settlement. The main purpose of this argument is to explore the consequences of San farm workers who are making government and social recognition of the San as a unique culture difficult. The San farmers are blurring the two goals of the International Indigenous Peoples’ Movement, which are to secure land rights and to achieve self-determination, which would move them away from their dependent life style, which “dissolves their cultural authenticity.”
The author uses the San farm workers to exemplify the serious problem governments have to sort out in order to properly understand and take action to help indigenous tribes. This article makes it very clear that the San are generally unrecognized and often face this misrecognition because they are not living in their traditional lifestyle.
The article is well organized, at the start of the paper Sylvain clearly states how the whole body is organized and there are sub-organizations throughout for difficult concepts. It gives numerous examples of the social and political factors affecting the San gaining political recognition. Some of the remaining San are creating leadership structures to organize themselves for political recognition, and this has been interpreted as an act of an invented society instead of an authentic one. While it is true that the San did not have traditional leadership structures, this may be the only way to gain political standing in their contemporary government that might eventually grant them land and other benefits to help retain their culture.
The author does not use any statistics about the San, which makes this article difficult to understand, because at any point the author may be speaking about a group of 200 San farmers or a group of 15, which could seriously change many readers opinion of how significant this problem is. The data used in the paper come from a mix of sources, from first hand accounts with the San, to outside observer opinions on them. There are also concepts introduced which are not explained such as “Identity Politics” and does not explain how the San are participating in this sort of political arena such as specific San leaders organizing groups, or San farmers opinions on this issue, which I would think to be significant considering this paper was written about them. The only sliver of interactions with the San farm workers is exemplified in one specific interaction with the cattle ranch farmers who they work for. This paper explores all of the issues that surround the San except for what the San actually think about their current situation.
APOSTOLIS AMAXOPOULOS University of Hawaii at Manoa (Heather Young Leslie)
Thomas, Elizabeth Marshall . The Lion/Bushmen Relationship in Nyae Nyae in the 1950s: A Relationship Crafted in the Old Way. Anthropologica, 2003. 45(1): 73-78.
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas provides detailed observations and comparisons of the Bushmen people, the Ju/wa or Ju/wasi, of the Kalahari Desert, and the lions who lived there with them. Marshall Thomas, who visited Nyae Nyae in the 1950’s, addresses the behaviour between the Ju/wa people and the lions, as well as the similarities they shared that had helped them coexist until the 1950’s. The larger intellectual concern that frames Thomas’s observations about the Ju/wa and the lions is the influence of the expanding growth of technology and agriculture. The once undomesticated people of the Savannah were overcome by the advancements in the technological and agricultural aspects of their lives, thus creating conflict between the Bushmen and the lions.
Thomas set out to determine how, prior to the Bushmen’s advancement in technology and development, the Ju/wa people and the lions could co-exist so peacefully together. Through anecdotes and personal experience, Thomas describes encounters between humans and lions and characterizes their pleasant relationship as a “truce”. Her basic argument is that while lions may pose a threat to humans, with the right behaviourisms and mutual respect, there can be little threat at all. This argument becomes evident when Thomas compares the dangers of a leopard to that of a lion.
Thomas’s argument is convincing. She discusses the Ju/wa people of the Kalahari Desert and the lions as predators, then goes on into detail about their relationship. Through her personal fieldwork and a brief synopsis of a survey conducted on deaths due to lions, she convinces the reader that the lion, although a predator, can live in a manner that “could sustain truce” (while keeping to certain lifestyle patterns). The article then reflects back upon the similarities the Ju/wa people and the lions shared in the 1950’s before returning to her more intellectual concern of how technology and domestication has created conflict with the relationship of the Bushmen people with the lions, eventually putting an end to their peaceful way of living with each other.
TAMARA BARNES York University (Maggie MacDonald).
Thomas, Elizabeth Marshall. The Lion/Bushman Relationship in Nyae Nyae in the 1950s: A Relationship Crafted in the Old Way. Anthropologica No 1, 2003 Vol.45: 73-78.
This article is the interesting discussion of the relationship of the Lions and (mainly) Ju/wa or Ju/wasi Bushmen in the Nyae Nyae of the Kalahari desert in the 1950s. The author discusses the natural dichotomy of the two “tribes” living on the same grounds and their unusual coexistence. It is noted that the Bushman have no ways of protecting themselves from the lions as they sleep on the ground (there are no trees in the area to climb), and the hunting weapons they use are by no means long enough (spears) or contain the poison (requires time) to forage a fight against the ferocious animal. She talks of how, at night, they sometimes use burning branches to scare the lions off. Also discussed is the illusion of added height, as hikers in Colorado are told to do as protection from wildcats, to warn the animal. Yet the two species live with respect and possible admiration for one another.
The lions sometimes comparable in respect to the //gauasi, or spirits of the dead. For example, lions were often sought while one was in trance, just as the //gauasi were often confronted. The two were so much the same that they sought the same food, the Bushmen sometimes attributed to taking the lion’s kill, with no fear. On another occasion it was the lionesses attempting to take the Bushman’s wildebeest, although the Bushmen easily prevailed. In areas nearby the lions were not so friendly or even avoiding humans at all costs. Thomas shows us that there must be something special about their relationship that helped them live on the same ground in the ways that they did.
Of these factors discussed, the idea that “the Bushmen lived entirely from the savannah, without fabric or manufactured items except…arrowheads made of wire (74).” proves to be an important, if not essential aspect in the living environment. The lions and people were one in the same, the people kept no domestic living things, just another species in the vast ecological African plain. The average group size was often similar, not to mention the amount of meat needed to feed their bands. Also, interestingly enough, a matriarchal society and kinship system reigned in each class, the lionesses owning the territory and the Bushman woman containing the primary birth rights to the land (known as n!ore). Water was used by both the Bushmen and lions to cool themselves off, and territorial defenses were carried out by the entire group. The hunting similarities were unbelievable, as the distance of a bow-shot of an arrow for the Bushmen was the same as a lion’s rush. The two lived on the same land, yet the lions were active at night and the Bushmen during the day. Night time fires may have helped the lions avoid the Bushmen’s camping grounds, while also casting light on the approaching animals.
Unfortunately, the Bushman/lion truce existed only in the interior of the Nyae Nyae during the 1950s, after that the introduction of cattle, other domestic animals, and technology like guns altered this symbiosis from occurring.
Overall, Thomas used a multitude of specific information to document her account of the Lion/Bushman relationship. She uses little outside sources, as most of the data is primarily evidence acquired during her fieldwork in the Nyae Nyae in the 1950s. Yet, the argument is strongly supported and easily compared in this interesting interaction of two seemingly similar creatures on the African plain.
ALEX MILSKI University of Hawaii at Manoa (Dr. Heather Young Leslie).
Trigger, Bruce. All People are (Not) Good. Anthropologica, 2003. 45: 39-44.
Bruce Trigger’s article, “All People are (Not) Good” concerns itself with the structure of macro and micro scale societies in relation to the concept of human nature. Misconceptions regarding socio-cultural evolution based on Richard Lee’s conclusion on the nature of human behavior in small scale societies. Trigger demerits the ideologies of the Enlightenment, Marx, Engels, that egalitarianism in hunter-gatherer societies are a direct expression that it is human nature to be good and rational and that the social and political inequalities of the state were accidental consequences of industrialization. Trigger opposes the notion that society is only a construction cultural and states that there are species-specific tendencies that need to be channeled in every society.
Trigger supports his argument by examining the structure of small-scale societies and their appearance of being egalitarian. The argument is posed through Lee’s viewpoint that small scale societies are not a reflection of human nature demonstrating social and political equality, or socialism as Marx argued; they are a reflection of size. Equality in the Kung! society, controlled self-assertion and greed through fear ridicule, gossip and victimization of witchcraft, Trigger accredits this to the size of the society where its member knew each other personally. Whereas, the state replaces fear in larger societies to maintain social control over power and privilege. Therefore, economic and political equality becomes less possible as society grows.
Trigger argues that as societies grow, anti-state principles become difficult to maintain. An example given is the Huron, whose inhabitants of over a thousand had to agree to the public policies constructed by the consultative structures and political offices, and those who felt constrained by this had the option to leave or form their own group. In larger societies hierarchy is needed to maintain social order.
The author supports his further argument by noting that early complex civilizations were maintained by social inequalities and accompanied by social and economical inequality. To maintain the function of large-scale societies as a whole, centralized controls need to be in place. In large-scale societies, state (the central control), serves as the “fear” in hunter-gatherer societies.
Large and small-scale societies require mechanisms and channels to maintain, however this is not simply due to the cultural construction of society but also due to its size. Socialism is not the answer to global political and social inequalities because unified public opinion as a means of governing is only possible in small-scale societies. In proving that “all people are not good,” Trigger encourages alternative developments in creating “a more humane and viable global society.”
ELISA FAZIO York University (Maggie MacDonald).