San “Bushmen” vs. Western Society

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San “Bushmen” VS. Western Society
Teresa Billinger
ANT101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology
Tristan Marble
May 13, 2013

The San “Bushmen” of the Kalahari Desert live in the Southwest area of Africa in diverse environments with their kinship being of a nuclear family mostly of bilateral descent. There are three behaviors that impact the culture which are affluence, immediate return system, and generalized reciprocity. When compared to Western society culture there are significant differences which shows that kinship does impact behaviors in the lives of Americans. The kinship of the San is a nuclear family of bilateral descent which can be described as the main type in foraging societies because it is adaptive to the different situations they face. Bilateral descent means the family connections are both from mother and father; which helps with mutual aid, and division amongst the bands. For example, if the San find themselves on hard times they can travel to another area and find kin who will give them water and shelter. Also within the group if one families hunter did not produce meat for the week; because everyone is kin they will still receive meat for their family because the band contributes as a whole and not individuals. That would make this type of kinship capable to withstand the changes that arise within the San territory. Foragers like the San have been portrayed as starving or struggling for food and water for their families, when they are actually content with what they have. They hunt and gather two or three days and spend the rest of their time relaxing with each other. The foragers has very few belongings, they are part of what is considered the affluent society. In the book Cultural Anthropology Barbara Nowak and Peter Laird (2010) stated: “Affluence means having material items that are in abundance relative to wants and needs.” (Nowak & Laird, 2010) The San do not want more than what they need, so they do not take more than they...
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