10
Representations and Self-representations

In 1987, historian of anthropology George Stocking noted that, in spite of modern reluctance to describe any populations as 'primitive', the comparative method of the 1870s had still not fallen out of use: 'Thus the Bushmen of the Kalahari, with appropriate antiracialist admonitions, have for thirty years provided evidence on the nature of early hunter/gatherer existence, in a way that Tylor would surely have appreciated – although he might have found the occasionally Rousseauistic rhetoric a bit archaic' (Stocking 1987: 328). The image of the Bushman as both prototype hunter-gatherer and exemplar of early humanity has been recycled at several points in the history of anthropology. Each age gives the image its own gloss: Rousseau's happy and clever bon sauvage of 1755 comes back to us in 1955, when Laurens van der Post made his famous expedition and the six-part television series Lost World of the Kalahari - a series soon to capture the attention of both the general public and would-be anthropologists of the day (Barnard 2005).

From the 1970s onwards, much of the rest of anthropology has become selfoccupied with questions like 'Should we be more reflexive?', 'Is ethnography just a kind of writing?' or 'What comes after metanarratives?' Hunter-gatherer studies in general, and San studies in particular, continued to look to bigger questions questions in anthropology rather than merely questions about anthropology. Among these were the nature of economics (in the idea of an original affluent society), the definition of a society (in the Kalahari debate), and the meaning of the transition from foraging to food production. Evolutionism, functionalism, structuralism and Marxism remained strong in San studies when others were dispensing with grand theory altogether, or at least pretending to. At the same time, San studies looked to concerns with social development, human rights and the representation of culture.


Interpretation, Incorporation and Reflexivity

At times, ever since Bleek and Lloyd, informants and interpreters have had a place as identifiable individuals in San studies. The names //Kabbo, Dialkwain and /Han;4cass'o remain powerful in the specialist literature, while recent generations of anthropology students will know of N!ai from John Marshall's acclaimed film

-129-

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Anthropology and the Bushman
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Figures and Tables vii
  • Preface ix
  • 1: Introduction 1
  • 2: From Early Encounters to Early Anthropology 11
  • 3: Victorian Visions of the Bushman 23
  • 4: Beckoning of the Kalahari 39
  • 5: Amateurs and Cultural Ecologists 53
  • 6: An Original Affluent Society? 67
  • 7: The Return of Myth and Symbol 83
  • 8: Kalahari Revisionism and Portrayals of Contact 97
  • 9: Advocacy, Development and Partnership 113
  • 10: Representations and Self-Representations 129
  • 11: Reflections and Conclusions 143
  • References 149
  • Index 172
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