San - San Jenny Peterman A N T 1 0 1 Prof Christine Compton...

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Unformatted text preview: San Jenny Peterman A N T: 1 0 1 Prof. Christine Compton N o v e m b e r 1 3 t h , 2 0 11 San I will describe the kinship system of the San (Bushmen) and how it impacts their lives. First I will give a brief description of their culture. Then I will provide three examples of how the kinship system impacts the way the culture behaves. Following each of these examples I will discuss how this aspect of the kinship system compares with American society and also how it may impact b e h a v i o r s i n m y l i f e . F i n a l l y I w i l l s u m m a r i z e t h e p a p e r ’s k e y points. Let us begin by learning a little about the San. The San live in the Kalahari Desert of South Africa which is one of the most inhospitable regions of the world. They survive on hunting wild game and also gather roots and tubers. They are considered to be one of the oldest cultures in the world. The culture is expected to be over a hundred thousand years old. Only until the last two thousand years the San have been living in the inhospitable desert. They have gradually been pushed here by modernization and farmers that have taken their old, more fertile lan ds (Tishkoff, 2009). I will now provide some examples of their kinship system and h o w i t r e l a t e s t o A m e r i c a n s t o d a y. Generalized reciprocity plays a huge role in the San Culture. They do a very good job of making sure that everyone in the camp has equal amounts of food. This includes both family and visitors alike. The evening meal of any one family is made up of portions of food from each of their other families in the band. Food can be distributed. There is a constant flow of nuts, berries, roots, and m e l o n s f r o m o n e f a m i l y t o a n o t h e r. T h i s w i l l c o n t i n u e u n t i l e v e r y o n e has an equal amount of food (Nowak and Laird, 2010). This continuous movement of goods between families and visitors not only ensures that everyone is treated equal; it strengthens the o b l i g a t i o n t o o n e a n o t h e r. A n e x a m p l e o f t h i s i n m y l i f e w o u l d b e watching out for those who need help that are starving, my friends, and my family members. I know that one day I will be doing the same and I will expect that someone will watch out for those who need help that are starving, my friends, and my family members as well. I will now talk about the nest example of how the kinship system impacts the way the San culture behaves. Modesty in the kinship system is an unwritten rule of the San. While San men vary a great deal in their skill for hunting, a lower level of success does not mean a lower status level. Understanding o n e ’s s k i l l o r d e p r e c i a t i n g t h e v a l u e o f w h a t w a s a c q u i r e d d u r i n g t h e i r d a y ’s h u n t i s a r e q u i r e m e n t f o r a S a n m a l e ( N o w a k a n d L a i r d , 2010). This enforcement of modesty in their kinship system keeps jealousy to a minimum and provides a less tense situation when it is time to share food. For Americans I believe that this may be less prevalent as a cultural norm and more of a personal choice or personality trait. There always seem to be someone that wants to make sure everyone knows how competent he/she is. People like this tend to be looked upon in a negative light. While modesty may not be quite as important to Americans as the San, it still goes a long way in our personal and professional relationships. I always try to be more modest or soft spoken, especially in a work environment. Now we will move on to the last example which talks about hierarchy and the property system. In the San culture there are no chiefs of headmen and every adult member of the tribe has equal rights as all others who live in their t e r r i t o r y. T h i s i n c l u d e s w h a t c a n b e f o u n d i n t h e t e r r i t o r y s u c h a s food or material for tools, weapons, housing, or clothing. The only s u p e r i o r s t a t u s c a n b e f o u n d i n t h e o b l i g a t i o n w i t h i n a p e r s o n ’s o w n k i n sh i p g ro u p . S e n i o r ki n , su c h a s a m o t he r, f a t he r, a n d gr an dp a r e n t s w o u l d h a v e su p e ri o r au t h o ri t y t o t he y o u n ge r m e m be r, su c h a s a c hi l d ( Si l b e r b au e r, 19 6 5 ) . I b e li e ve t he r e wo u l d be ve r y f e w e x a m p l e s o f t h i s i n A m e r i c a n c u l t u r e t o d a y. O u r c u l t u r e i s v e r y structured towards leadership and a capitalist way of thinking. It seems that in almost all group situations we look to see who/whom is in charge or who/whom the alpha male is. Also the economic aspect the San culture seems to be more closely related to Communism, w h i c h w o u l d b e t h e p o l a r o p p o s i t e t o o u r C a p i t a l i s t s o c i e t y. T h i s concludes the examples. N o w I w i l l m o v e o n t o t h e s u m m a r i z i n g t h e p a p e r ’s k e y p o i n t s . The purpose of this paper was to give you a better understanding of how the kinship system impacts the lives of the San. I first gave a brief description and history of their culture. Then I moved on to provide three examples of how the kinship system impacts the San. T h e y w e r e g e n e r a l i z e d r e c i p r o c i t y, m o d e s t y, h i e r a r c h y, a n d t h e property system. In each of these examples, I tried to relate the San with American culture and my personal life. I hope this paper helped explained the impacts of the kinship system on the San and hopefully the examples will help you better understand how these relate to your own life. References Ti shkoff, S.A. (2009, May 22) The Gene tic Struc ture an d Hi sto ry of Africans and African Americans, Science Express, 324. N o w a k , B . S . , & L a i r d , P. F. ( 2 0 1 0 ) C u l t u r a l A n t h r o p o l o g y. R e t r i e v e d from: https://content.ashford.edu/books/AUANT101.10.2 S i l be r b au e r, G. B . ( 1 9 6 5 ) R e p o r t to t h e Go v e rn m e n t of B e c hu a n a l an d o n t h e B u s h m a n S u r v e y, G a b e r o n e s : B e c h u a n a l a n d G o v e r n m e n t . ...
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This note was uploaded on 11/21/2011 for the course ANT 101 taught by Professor Wright during the Fall '11 term at Ashford University.

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