ANT 101 San Kinship System
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ANT 101 San Kinship System

Course Number: ANT 101, Spring 2011

College/University: Ashford University

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The San Kinship System Tara Jackson ANT 101 Instructor Goings Jul 11, 2011 2 The San foragers reside in the Kalahari Desert in Africa. In foraging cultures the people live in mobile groups called Bands. Continuous movement and the sharing of food and water are part of what build strong kinship tie amongst the San people. I will explore the most common form reciprocity practiced within the San culture and present...

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San The Kinship System Tara Jackson ANT 101 Instructor Goings Jul 11, 2011 2 The San foragers reside in the Kalahari Desert in Africa. In foraging cultures the people live in mobile groups called Bands. Continuous movement and the sharing of food and water are part of what build strong kinship tie amongst the San people. I will explore the most common form reciprocity practiced within the San culture and present three examples of this kinship system and makes it work. According to our text generalized reciprocity is a form of exchange in which there is no expectation for the immediate return of an item in exchange for something else; in the long run, things are expected to even out. An items value does not calculated, and no one keeps exact track of the transactions (Nowark & Laird, 2010). This culture or band of people lives in a reciprocal economic system. Simply put they do not expect anything in return for helping others than remember me in my time of need, another valid point that can be made about the San culture is that they practice unselfishness on a daily basis For example, the San culture will share their share food, water pooling together all food and all other resources gathered for the day to share with all members of the Band. This ensures all who are a part of this culture the survival of the camp. If a hunter is not successful making a kill for his family, they will not go hungry because another hunter or hunters within the band will share their food and water with all members of the camp to ensure no one goes hungry or without; which again, continues to promote building a strong kinship within the culture. 3 The San Kinship System Another example of the generalized reciprocity system and kinship in the San culture is how the system inhibits the accumulation of wealth. Everything is shared, so no one is rich or poor everyone within the band sufficient needs (Nowak & Laird, 2010). There is no to each person his own, or those have, who have and those who dont have simply put dont have. Everyone within the San culture shares essentially all they have. This promotes the success of generalized reciprocity in every aspect of the San culture. This practice in several ways is quite the opposite of what American culture has been taught. We Americans strive all our life to accumulate wealth and have power over others, and whats ironic about this is that, many Americans dont live to enjoy this wealth; the very same people we have accumulated this wealth over in the end will live to enjoy what others have worked themselves to death to obtain. Parents share is another generalized reciprocity promoted in the San culture with their children for more than unselfish reasons (Nowak & Laird, 2010). Many Sans believe parental care is a pure gift which is given with no expectation of return; while ensuring future generations, parents are also securing their childrens help and assistance into old age (Nowak & Laird, 2010). In the San culture children taking care of their elderly parents is a return of the gift parents made when their children were young (Nowak & Laird, 2010). Finally, we as Americans have become so focused on material items and less focused on those who are suffering. In the San culture a neighbor would not starve, in American culture we have millions of neighbors who go hungry every day. Sadly, in American culture the focus on kinship and family ties is much less important and the 4 focus on personal wealth takes presidence for large sum of Americans. We as Americans could learn that kinship and family ties is an important part of this culture in many ways. Their strong belief in sharing, pooling food, water and unselfishness has helped the San culture survive for many thousands of years. The San Kinship System 5 References Nowak, B., Laird, P., (2010) Cultural anthropology. San Diego: Bridgeport Education Inc. . 6 . . 7 The San Kinship System

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