Hunters and Herders of Southern Africa: A Comparative Ethnography of the Khoisan Peoples

Hunters and Herders of Southern Africa: A Comparative Ethnography of the Khoisan Peoples

by Alan Barnard
     
 

The Khoisan are a cluster of southern African peoples which include the famous Bushmen, or San, 'hunters', the Khoekhoe 'herders' (in the past called 'Hottentots'), and the Damara, also a herding people. The present-day Khoisan include hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, and wage labourers. In spite of differences associated with their economic pursuits, as well as… See more details below

Overview

The Khoisan are a cluster of southern African peoples which include the famous Bushmen, or San, 'hunters', the Khoekhoe 'herders' (in the past called 'Hottentots'), and the Damara, also a herding people. The present-day Khoisan include hunter-gatherers, pastoralists, and wage labourers. In spite of differences associated with their economic pursuits, as well as differences in language and other aspects of culture, the Khoisan peoples share features of territorial organization, gender relations, kinship, ritual, and cosmology. These represent elements of structures held in common across economic, cultural, linguistic, and 'racial' boundaries. This book focuses on these structures and the diverse forms which they take within Khoisan culture and society. It is written within the framework of regional structural comparison.

Part I examines the theoretical aspects of regional structural comparison, and the prehistory and classification of the Khoisan peoples. Part II presents an extensive ethnographic overview of Khoisan culture and social organization -- the first since 1930. Part III explores facets of Khoisan society in comparative perspective, and, in particular, the complex relationships between environmental conditions, ethno-linguistic boundaries, and processes of change. There are chapters on settlement patterns, politics and exchange, religious belief, and kinship.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Alan Barnard has written a book that no scholar in the area of Khosian studies and few students in the wider field of hunter-gatherer studies can afford to ignore … To assemble all of the relevant ethnographic data on so crucial a group of hunter-gatherers in one volume and to accompany the same with crisp, topical discussions of some of the current issues of theory … is to produce a book of the highest scholarly relevance. Hunters and Herders is a worthy successor indeed to The Khoisan People!.' Current Anthropology

'Because of its detailed and comprehensive nature, this book should be used extensively by both scholars of the Khoisan people in all disciplines as well as by government and other agencies working for their welfare. It undoubtedly makes a great contribution to our understanding of the Khoisan and their cosmology, and indeed will serve as a refernce book on the subject for a long time to come.' SOAS

'Barnard's book is at once an encyclopedic compendium of Khoisan ethnography, in the widest sense, and an attempt at structuralist comparison between the various ethnographies. His survey is exemplary … both as description and as controlled comparison, his books is immensely valuable.' African Affairs

' … immensely valuable.' African Affairs

'brilliantly written and as excellently documented and produced … as one would expect from a book of such high standard.' Anthropos

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780521428651
Publisher:
Cambridge University Press
Publication date:
02/28/1992
Series:
Cambridge Studies in Social and Cultural Anthropology Series, #85
Pages:
380
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 0.83(d)

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