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Title: Things from the bush : power and colonialism in the making of Ju/'hoan identity in the Omaheke region of Namibia
Author: Suzman, James
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1997
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Studies of those peoples living in southern Africa who have at one time or another been referred to as Bushmen have been dominated by discussions pertaining almost exclusively to their one-time status as hunter-gatherers. In this thesis, the author makes a departure from this line of study and takes as his subject matter those Bushmen who, because they were not seen to be living exemplars of the foraging way of life, were initially of little interest to anthropologists: the "impure" Bushmen who have for several generations have been immersed in the colonial political economy, eking out a living in the margins of the Omaheke region in Namibia. In this thesis, which is the result of eighteen months fieldwork on the white-owned commercial farms and former "native reserves" of the Omaheke, the author examines the processes involved in the construction and articulation of contemporary Ju/'hoan identity. In doing this the author argues that Ju/'hoan identity is constituted, not in terms of cultural institutions left over from their hunting and gathering past, but in terms of their marginalisation and domination by others. In addressing the issue of identity in a "plural" environment, the author takes an approach which focuses on the production of identity in terms of the relations between Ju/'hoansi in the Omaheke and their various neighbours. Consequently, the author examines how other residents of the Omaheke constructed Ju/'hoansi in discourse and how these constructions influenced and transformed the narratives through which Ju/hoansi constructed themselves. In doing this the author addresses these questions from a variety of angles including, history, politics, religion, kinship and folklore. In concluding, the author highlights the degree to which Ju'hoan identity is implicated in their relations with others and suggests that in studying formerly hunting-and-gathering societies experiencing radical change, it is necessary to move beyond the theoretical frameworks and models generated for the study of them as hunter-gatherers.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available