Before Farming

Insulting the meat

foragers, sharing & ideological practices – an appreciation of Richard Lee's egalitarianism

Before Farming (2009), 2009, (4), 1–13.

Abstract

Richard Lee has not shied away from ideological implications of his ethnographic findings in the Kalahari. This article1 looks at empirical and ideological aspects of one of Lee's many interests, namely egalitarianism, sharing, and above all, the lack of private property among foragers and other kin-based social entities. Lee has long recognised the importance of upholding both the empirical and ideological identities of societies that are based on sharing resources and on communal living. The continued recognition of these phenomena, in both the empirically ethnographic and the ideological senses, are crucial not only to the future of hunter-gatherer studies but also to core features of other small-scale, self-identifying peoples, as well as to wider concerns with human sociality, its history and its future.

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Daly, Richard