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

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, ...
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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

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Product Details

Table of Contents

List of figures and maps xi
List of tables xiii
Preface xv
A note on orthography xviii
Part I The Khoisan peoples
1 Introduction 3
2 Ethnic classification, origins, and history of the Khoisan peoples 16
Part II A survey of Khoisan ethnography
3 The !Kung 39
4 The !Xo and Eastern [not equal] Hoa 62
5 The Southern Bushmen 77
6 The G/wi and G//ana of the central Kalahari 98
7 The Eastern and Northern Khoe Bushmen 117
8 The Nharo 134
9 The Cape Khoekhoe and Korana 156
10 The Nama and others 176
11 The Damara and Hai//om 199
Part III Comparisons and transformations
12 Settlement and territoriality among the desert-dwelling Bushmen 223
13 Politics and exchange in Khoisan society 237
14 Aspects of Khoisan religious ideology 251
15 Bushman kinship: correspondences and differences 264
16 Khoe kinship: underlying structures and transformations 282
17 Conclusions 295
References 303
Index 337
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