The Mbuti Way of Life
ANT 101: Introduction to Cultural Anthropology (GSF1247C)
Instructor: Jorge Garcia-Herreros
January 7, 2013
The Mbuti Way of Life
The Mbuti are a foraging society. They reside deep in the heart of Africa, in the second largest rainforest in the world, the Ituri forest. The Mbuti way of life, in every way, revolves around the forest they live within, and love. They are a peaceful people, who adore their land, and treat it with the upmost dignity and admiration. Their culture promotes gender equality, and a reverent and harmonious relationship with each other, as well as their surroundings.
The Mbuti, often referred to as African pygmies, have been called a “true egalitarian society”. Within their culture, everyone, men, women, and children have equal access to resources. This is the very definition of an egalitarian society. The Mbuti have no rulers, no political structure, and with the exception of a religion that ties their every facet to the forest, no cohesive social structure. (Coffey, 2012). Men and women share equal power, and decisions are made as a group.
Though men and women are equals, they take on different gender roles. The men have the role of hunting animals. The Mbuti men are very skilled hunters. Both men and women gather food sources such as edible plants, roots, nuts, and berries, along with anything else they find to be a good source of food. The women have the knowledge of which vegetation is poisonous or may be harmful to them. The women also handle food preparation, and the building of the huts. Men and women have specific responsibilities, however they often work together to complete a task. The women assist the men with the hunting, by startling the animals into the nets the men use as traps, for example. Both sexes share the responsibility of caring for the children. (Suroviak, n.d.). The Mbuti people, men and women, are willing to all that is necessary to...
References: Coffey, J. (2012). The Mbuti of Central Africa: The Only Known Egalitarian Society. Retrieved from http://spirituality.knoji.com/the-only-known- egalitarian-society-the-mbuti-of-central-africa/
Fabbro, D. Peaceful Societies: An Introduction. Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 15, p. 67-83. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/422870
Mosko, M. The Symbols of “Forest”: A Structural Analysis of Mbuti Culture and Social Organization. American Anthropologist. Vol. 89, p. 896-913. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/677863
Nowak, B., & Laird, P. (2010). Cultural Anthropology. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu/books/AUANT101.10.2
Peaceful Societies. (n.d.). Mbuti. Retrieved from http://www.peacefulsocieties.org/Society/Mbuti.html
Salopek, P. (2011). Who rules the forest? Retrieved January 20, 2011, from http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0509/feature5/index.html
Suroviak, C. (n.d.). The mbuti of zaire. Retrieved January 20, 2011, from http://www.ucc.uconn.edu/~epsadm03/mbuti.html
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