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Kinship, language and production: a conjectural history of Khoisan social structure

  • Alan Barnard


In earlier articles I have argued the merits of the method of controlled comparison, both for the study of hunter-gatherer social organisation and for the study of Khoisan kinship across the forager/non-forager divide. In this article I put these two interests together to examine specifically the relation between kinship, production and culture contact among the Khoisan, and particularly the Khoe-speaking, peoples. Certain kinship structures and practices are dependent upon the means and methods of subsistence, while others are not. The latter are products of Khoisan history and in general reflect linguistic relationships between economically diverse Khoisan peoples.



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