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Eating Christmas in the Kalahari - Essay Example

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The highlight of the story was when Lee took the opportunity of the Christmas holiday to thank the !Kung Bushmen for the cooperation they had shown during his fieldwork through the biggest and meatiest black ox. He anticipated that this act of offering them the big solid black Christmas ox would yield praises from the people yet in return, he was continuously criticized, taunted and poked fun at. Despite the fact that it had appeared enormous for Lee, his ox was told to be big but old and thin, and basically was just “bag of bones” which would be not enough for the rest of the tribe, thus causing to the possibility of ruining the feast. Such reaction made him very disappointed to the point that he had become frustrated and had his holiday ruined. Nonetheless, those jokes and wisecracks on him and his ox were not the way how outsiders were treated but basically part of their customs. This practice is part of their culture to enforce humility among its people. For the !Kung Bushmen, there is no such thing to be considered as completely generous acts for the reason that whatever deeds an individual commits have a component of calculation (Lee, 2008).
For this group who is sustained by their hunting and gathering, the importance of humbleness is one of the key elements which keeps them socially integrated. When a member does something good, the rest of the tribe would criticize and mock at this person to ensure that he or she wont be overconfident about him or herself. This practice serves also a crucial aspect for eradicating the probable superiority or power that a member can possibly hold through whatever acts he or she does. Through taunting, equality is maintained within the tribe. Despite whatever an individual member can achieve bragging has no place in their community. This sort of system shapes the whole tribe and likewise, helps to keep the community depending on each ...Show more
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Summary

Even an ethnographer goes through such difficulty in maintaining an objective stance of respecting cultural differences which is a critical element in understanding the values, beliefs as well as practices of people. In grasping an understanding of the !Kung Bushmen culture,…
Eating Christmas in the Kalahari
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