The Harmless People Book Report

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Solidarity is an essential theory for anthropologists throughout the world. Solidarity, a form of unity within a group, was categorized by Emile Durkheim. Durkheim explained two forms of solidarity; Organic and Mechanical. Organic is where a society relies on the specialization of others within their community i.e. Doctors, Dentists, Farmers etc. While Mechanical solidarity is more of a shared society, where the individuals of that community have an equal share in responsibility and importance, they work together. While studying “The Harmless People,” a book written by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, we examine her experiences with the Bushmen: and how their society reflects organic or mechanical solidarity. Hunting is the framework of life for the Bushmen, which has a large connection to family relations, influences marriage, establishes social standings among the community, and directs rituals and taboos in a manner that would be more closely considered mechanical solidarity than organic. Family would have to be the basic structure for relationships of nearly everyone throughout the world, not just the Bushmen. Family relations create a type of obligation to provide and care for those next of kin, which…show more content…
In the book Thomas talks about a well know Bushman named Lazy Kwi. Lazy Kwi was married and had family whom he loved. However, he was named “lazy,” not because he was what Americans define as lazy, but as Thomas stated “…lazy, an insulting name, only because was not a good hunter” (Thomas 164). Although, despite this name, Lazy Kwi was still able to provide for his family using simple snares to trap smaller game. Lazy Kwi was never very good with the more traditional stalking of prey with a bow and arrow because he was quite loud when he moved. His bad hunting skills would affect shares given to him when other men brought back larger
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