Christmas in Kalahari Essay

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“Eating Christmas in the Kalahari” by anthropologist Richard Lee demonstrates many more concepts in sociology. In the article Lee is doing fieldwork in the Kalahari desert observing the hunting and gathering practices among the !Kung (Ju/’hoansi). Lee experiences many times of cultural misunderstandings related to naïve realism, cultural shock, and also not fully understanding what is culturally and ethically appropriate. He learns a very valuable lesson when, in his eyes, has a perfect idea for an appreciation gift to the Ju, because of their incredible cooperation during his study. Which unexpectedly turns into an unpleasant joke that Lee will never forget. In America Christmas is a happy, festive time filled with great spiritual…show more content…
Instead, Lee was taunted and belittled by everyone for choosing a “bag of bones”. He was even told that the ox he had chosen was going to ruin the Christmas feast, but Lee insisted that he had chosen a beautiful animal and was confident that they would still eat with pleasure. They replied saying, “Of course we will eat it; it’s food. But it won’t fill us up to the point where we will have enough strength to dance. We will eat and go home to bed with stomachs rumbling”(Lee, Eating Christmas with the Kalahari Pg. 2). Lee was also told that the lack of meat would cause a fight over how they were going to distribute it amongst the Ju. The response frustrated Lee to the point that he tried searching for a better ox, but was unable to find another. He decided that he was just going to serve the ox regardless. However, in the end, Lee was told that it was actually all a joke and they could not have been more pleased with the plentiful amount of meat. The !Kung believe that individuals should be humble about their gift giving, and they should never brag about or compliment an accomplishment, or generous act. Rather, when one has done or achieved something good, they are supposed to keep it to themselves until another asks about it, and even then they are supposed to talk down about it while others criticize. The Ju/’hoansi understand that accomplishments or generosity can cause one to
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