Marjorie Shostak�s Nisa

Marjorie Shostak�s Nisa - Anthro 101-021...

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Anthro 101-021 Ethan Leavitt Response paper 2 November 3,2006 Marjorie Shostak’s Nisa: The life and Words of a !Kung Woman, tells about the experiences of a one !kung Woman, Nisa, and the culture of the !Kung as a whole. The ! Kung are a hunter-gatherer society who live in the Kalahari desert. Due to their nomadic nature, their material possessions are limited to clothing and jewelry. However, the ! Kung do not live in poverty, conversely they are affluent. Poverty is not absolute, but rather a social relationship. To asses, the quality of life in the !Kung one must consider cultural relativism, Sahlin’s notion as foragers as the original affluent society, and the intrusion of the modern world on the !Kung. One of the central tenets of anthropology is cultural relativism, the idea that one must always evaluate with in the context of the culture he or she is studying rather than his or her own. Thus when evaluating the affluence of the !kung, one can not use the standards of wealth that exist in America. Instead one must consider the standard of the ! kung. The !Kung work very few hours, however, they are satisfied with what they have and are able to survive on it, thus they are affluent. An anthropologist name, Marshall Sahlin, theorized that hunter-gatherer societies, like the !Kung were the “original affluent
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Marjorie Shostak�s Nisa - Anthro 101-021...

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