Identity, culture and domination

Excerpt from "African Hunter-Gatherers: Survival, History and the Politics of Identity", Kiroku, Kyoto University: "...It is difficult to generalize across the continent. In fact, hunter-gatherers in Africa today are strikingly diverse socially, ethnically, and economically...Despite a diversity of origins and present circumstances, a few general points can be made. In some ways African foragers display the characteristics common to other societies in their regions, speaking local languages and adopting local customs. In other important ways they have maintained distinct identities. Most of the hunter-gatherers exhibit a pattern of flexible and relatively egalitarian band organization common to hunter-gatherers elsewhere. In their internal sociopolitical organization they tended to be far less rigid and hierarchical than the norm of their agricultural and pastoral neighbors..Their flexibility and mobility worked both to their advantage and disadvantage. In the event of war or famine, they had the desert or the rainforest to fall back on as survival strategies. They had the power to survive outside the “system.” On the other hand, their lack of hierarchy meant that when outsiders presented sufficient political or military force, the foragers could not easily resist and sooner or later came to be dominated by others..."

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