On the following pages, we'll attempt to analyze the social institutions
(family, religion, education, economics, medicine, politics, law, science,
military and the media) of the !Kung San utilizing the three sociological
perspectives (functionalism, conflict and symbolic interactionism). In doing
this we hope to learn a little more about a people whose culture is being
taken away from them as the world speeds more and more forward technologically.
For the purpose of this analysis, more emphasis is placed on the !Kung San
as a hunter-gathering society in spite the deterioration of the !Kung culture
due to external forces. Because of the group structure inherent in a
hunter-gathering society like the !Kung San culture, there might be instances
where some of the sociological perspectives may not fit into the social
institution being discussed. When this does occur, information on why it
doesn't fit will be given.
Throughout this site, you might see the words Bushmen, San, or !Kung used.
Bushmen and San are interchangeable words describing the peoples of South
Africa who live in the Kalahari. The !Kung (or !Kung San) are a sub-group
within the San. The San each speak dialects of Khoisan language, which
incorporates different clicking
sounds.13 For a good description
on how the sounds of the language are put together,
Along the left side of your browser, you will find links to each of the
social institutions that we will discuss based on the sociological perspectives.
In addition, at the bottom of each page you should find the following symbols
- Go to the previous page.
- Come back to this page.
- Go to the next page.
All in all, I hope that you find some useful information and perhaps learn a
little bit about one of the few remaining hunter-gatherer societies in the