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The hunter-gatherers of southern Africa known as 'Bushmen' or 'San' are not one single ethnic group, but several. They speak a diverse variety of languages, and have many different settlement patterns, kinship systems and economic practices. The fact that we think of them as a unity is not as strange as it may seem, for they share a common origin: they are an original hunter-gatherer population of southern Africa with a history of many thousands of years on the subcontinent. Drawing on his four decades of field research in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa, Alan Barnard provides a detailed account of Bushmen or San, covering ethnography, archaeology, folklore, religious studies and rock-art studies as well as several other fields. Its wide coverage includes social development and politics, both historically and in the present day, helping us to reconstruct both human prehistory and a better understanding of ourselves.Read more
- Brings together ideas from a variety of fields to provide a holistic understanding of Bushmen as a cluster of ethnic groups
- Draws on the author's four decades of field research in southern Africa
- Covers the diversity of Bushmen groups over a long time-period, providing important historical understanding
Reviews & endorsements
‘This book provides a masterful synthesis of what is over a century of ethnographic research, but it is in advocating for anthropology to not lose sight of the value of comparison … that it makes a broad and valuable contribution to the discipline.’ Megan Laws, Anthropos
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- Date Published: September 2019
- format: Paperback
- isbn: 9781108406871
- length: 218 pages
- dimensions: 228 x 152 x 11 mm
- weight: 0.37kg
- contains: 17 b/w illus. 7 maps 5 tables
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
1. 'Bushmen': unity and diversity
2. The politics of indigeneity
3. How far back can we go?
4. Discovery and destruction of the /Xam
5. The !Xoõ and their neighbours
6. G/wi, G//ana and the central Kalahari
7. Naro: 'Central', 'Northern' or unique?
8. Ju/'hoansi or !Kung: classic San
9. Hai//om: Khoekhoe-speaking San
10. Bushmen of the Okavango
11. Sharing the land with others
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