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The Dobe Ju/'Hoansi 4th Edition

Richard B. Lee

  • Published
  • Previous Editions 2002, 1994
  • 320 Pages


This classic, bestselling study of the !Kung San, foragers of the Dobe area of the Kalahari Desert describes a people's reactions to the forces of modernization, detailing relatively recent changes to !Kung rituals, beliefs, social structure, marriage and kinship system. It documents their determination to take hold of their own destiny, despite exploitation of their habitat and relentless development to assert their political rights and revitalize their communities. Use of the name Ju/'hoansi (meaning "real people") acknowledges their new sense of empowerment. Since the publication of the Third Edition in 2003, Richard Lee has made eight further trips to the Kalahari, the most recent in 2010 and 2011. The Dobe and Nyae Nyae Areas have continued to transform and the people have had to respond and adapt to the pressures of capitalist economics and bureaucratic governance of the Namibian and Botswana states. This Fourth Edition chronicles and bears witness to these evolving social conditions and their impacts on lives of the Ju/'hoansi.

Richard B. Lee, University of Toronto

Richard Lee (B.A. and M.A., University of Toronto; Ph. D., University of California, Berkeley) is a professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto and a member of the faculty of the Centre for International Health. He has held academic appointments at Harvard, Rutgers, and Columbia Universities, and research positions at Stanford, the Australian National University, and Kyoto University. His current research interests include the social and cultural aspects of HIV/AIDS, human rights and indigenous peoples, critical medical anthropology gender relations, and the politics of culture. He is internationally known for his studies of hunting-and-gathering societies, particularly the Ju/hoansi-!Kung San of Botswana. His book the !Kung San (1979) was honored by inclusion on a list of the 100 most important works of science of the 20th century by the journal American Scientist (1999, November). A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and past president of the Canadian Anthropology Society, Dr. Lee has been awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Alaska and Guelph University for his research and advocacy on behalf of indigenous peoples.
  • Chapters 1-11 have been reviewed and revised to reflect the changes in Ju/'hoansi society, which Richard Lee has observed in eight visits since 2003.
  • Chapter 12, tracking developments up to 2011, has been the most thoroughly revised, in particular bringing the story up to date in the crucial areas of political evolution, land tenure, education, and health.
  • Chapter 13 of this edition "Tsumkwe at 50" is brand-new. It relates the results of a social survey of the town of Tsumkwe in 2010 and 11. The administrative capital of the Nyae Nyae district of Namibia, Tsumkwe is the epi-center of change for the Namibian Ju/'hoansi. The survey of Tsumkwe focuses on five key areas of life: subsistence, integration into the cash economy, education, health, and religious life.
  • The final chapter, now chapter 14, "Anthropological Practice and the Lessons of the Ju/'hoansi" has been thoroughly updated.
  • Lee continues to document the increasing changes to Ju/hoansi rituals, beliefs, kinship system, and social structure.
  • New material is included on the Ju/hoansi reactions to government development projects, the AIDS/HIV epidemic, and the ecotourism movement that brings people into the Kalahari to visit formerly isolated villages.
  • Lee has continued to work with archaeologists to excavate historic sites. Material from this work will provide a basis for an expanded discussion on the current "Kalahari debate".
  • Every student of cultural anthropology will eventually make the acquaintance of the Dobe. The world is changing, however, and the Dobe Ju/hoansi are a remarkable people who have changed with the times, finding new ways to subsist in a harsh land.
  • Lee uses material from the life histories of elders as well as his own responses to the situation in the Kalahari to present readers with an insightful look at the Dobe Ju/hoansi.
Preface to the Fourth Edition.
1. The Ju/'hoansi.
2. The People of the Dobe Area.
3. Environment and Settlement.
4. Subsistence: Foraging for a Living.
5. Kinship and Social Organization.
6. Marriage and Sexuality.
7. Complaint Discourse: Aging and Caregiving among the Ju/'hoansi.
8. Conflict, Politics, and Exchange.
9. Coping with Life: Religion, World View, and Healing.
10. The Ju/'hoansi and Their Neighbors.
11. Perceptions and Directions of Social Change.
12. The Ju/'hoansi Today.
13. Tsumkwe at 50: The 2010 Social Survey of a Namibian Ju/'hoansi Town.
14. Anthropological Practice and Lessons of the Ju/'hoansi.
Postscript: The /Gwihaba Dancers.
Appendix A: Eating Christmas in the Kalahari.
Appendix B: The Kalahari Debate: Ju/'hoan Images of the Colonial Encounter.
Glossary of Ju/'hoan and Other Non-English Terms.
Films of the Ju/'hoansi: An Annotated List.
References Cited and Recommended Readings.

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  • ISBN-10: 1285205855
  • ISBN-13: 9781285205854
  • STARTING AT $13.49

  • ISBN-10: 1111828776
  • ISBN-13: 9781111828776
  • Bookstore Wholesale Price $57.75
  • RETAIL $76.95