In Due to this aspect, some people were
In every civilization that involves the human race, change is essentially inevitable.
Most societies strive to make it so most people are positively benefited from these changes. Despite the efforts, some people are still negatively affected by the shifts in customs. We see numerous examples of people being both positively and negatively affected from the shift of hunter/gatherer life styles to more sedentary life styles.
The text Worlds of History by Kevin Reilly and the film N! ai, the Story of a ! Kung Woman display many examples of said scenario.The shift from a hunter/gatherer style to a sedentary style in Africa helped some people flourish, made it difficult for others, and affected men and woman in several different ways. Most people are aware of what African societies had to do on a daily basis just to survive. This included walking several miles for water, then walking back with full containers of water. To eat, these people depended on hunting large animals with small, inferior weapons and picking the berries and other plants that they found in the dessert.Although this tactic worked, it was not the most efficient way of conducting a life style.
Henceforth, we can pick out a transition from this to a more sedentary life style. This change included many benefits. In a sedentary culture, the residents could notice a food surplus, due to the increased farming. With farms right next to a living community, it was quite simple to obtain food. This is a great benefit not only because people could eat, but it also helped nonagricultural professions flourish. Where there was food, there was energy and currency.
This clearly leads to a more stable economy. Where there are farms, though, there must be water. As they moved into a sedentary way of life, people began moving closer to dependable bodies of water. Instead of walking several miles for water, it was plenty accessible for nourishment purposes and for irrigation purposes. The sedentary style created ever expanding opportunities for the individual to excel as well. With farms becoming popular, and flourishing professions as a result, people had opportunities to make money and other assets.
Due to this aspect, some people were placed at a major advantage. Finally, this new method led to increased birth rate and population. N! ai herself displays the reason for this affect when she tells that “When I still had no breasts, when my genitals still weren’t developed, when my chest as without anything on it, that was when a man named Bo came from a distant area and people started talking about marriage. ” (Reilly, 11) As we saw in the N! ai, the Story of a ! Kung Woman, N! i was forced to marry at a young age and was immediately expected to sleep with her new husband for the purposes of becoming pregnant. With woman no longer needed to gather food and water, they were primarily expected to bare and raise children. This would lead to a steep rise in population which led to crucial military advances.
The benefits of a transition to a sedentary style are clear and plenty, but like anything, such a thing must carry costs as well. Before most people make a decision, they weigh the costs with the benefits.Very rarely do we stumble upon a decision that does not involve both aspects. This makes it easy to understand why the sedentary ways brought happiness and prosperity to some, it also brought tough times upon others. One of the biggest costs of the new style was the very significant subordination of woman. Since men were became the “bread winners” and woman were expected to stay home with the children, it is easy to see the development of a patriarchy. Not only this, but class hierarchies begun to arise as well.
Where currency comes in to play, classes tend to follow. This is a cost because when equality dissolves, intersociety issues begin to become very likely. Although it may not seem too important to us, being connected to nature was something very important to the people in African societies. Turning to a sedentary life style seemed to somewhat sever peoples’ communication with nature. Since they did it so much, these people would become attached to the same nature that would provide them with food, water, and meat from animals.Switching to sedentary customs involved much less interaction with nature. People no longer went out to find berries, water, or to track a giraffe for days at a time.
This affect did make some of the residents upset and resistant against the sedentary techniques. As previously discussed, this major transition placed some people at a major disadvantage. But some people were placed at a major disadvantage as well. Despite the many opportunities to flourish in the professional sense, some people just did not have what it takes to do so.
If hunting and gathering was all a person knew, he or she found themselves struggling in sedentary society. Although some people experienced great benefits from such shift, others found themselves paying the price of the transition. However, this general result is natural and seen everywhere, no matter the time in history.
It is also natural, though, to see that men and woman are affected by these changes in different ways. Due to the fact that men and woman are essentially polar opposites, different changes in society tend to occasionally affect men and woman differently.In the case of a switch from a hunter/gatherer society to a sedentary society, woman seemed to bare the brunt of the negative affects. As previously stated, but not completely elaborated upon, woman began to become more subordinate as time went on and the transition proceeded. In chapter one of World of History, the author states that “men dominate, parents prefer sons to daughters, and most people-even woman- associate maleness with strength, energy, reason, science, and the important public sphere. ” (Reilly, 1) Such opinion about men would develop when the agricultural aspects of history develop.
Men became the farmers and worked jobs that the farming created. Because of this, men were considered the ones feeding the hungry mouths of his family. As they did this, the woman were expected to do nothing but stay home and raise children and do other busy work. Although these tasks were crucial, they tended not to be viewed as important as the jobs that men performed. This led to woman being looked at as subservient in society. This shows quite some irony though. It seems as though these cultures became more sedentary, the specific roles of men and woman switched.
In a hunter/gather culture, the woman were in charge of providing food for her family. When things shifted, men took on this role and woman were stripped of their tasks. Unfortunately, woman did experience many costs of a sedentary life style, but clearly most people saw this as necessary. Just like any major transition in life, benefits made themselves apparent and so did the costs.
Not only this, but it is simple to evaluate how this change affected woman and men separately in a few specific aspects. The film N! ai, the Story of a !Kung woman is a very important source because we actually get to see how this new life style affects a female from her early years to adulthood. We got to hear her stories, listen to her opinions and watch as she lives in a sedentary society.
The text Worlds of History plays another major role in our assessment of this shift. As we view direct sources, Reilly provides in depth analysis to enrich our understanding of the topic on hand. Without these sources, we would struggle to recognize the benefits and costs of transition from a hunter/gathering culture to a sedentary culture.