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Land Filled with Flies

A Political Economy of the Kalahari

"The image of a pristine isolation has been almost as common in research on foragers as in the popular media. Land filled with Flies is a sustanined argument against such views. Wilmsen marshals an enormous quantity of historical, archival, archeological, ethnographic, and survey data on the Kalahari Zhu to show how far from the reality these images are, how they have their own historical provenance, how they have been analytically distorting, and how they have proven politically pernicious for living groups like the Zhu."—Pauline Peters, Science

"[A] major work. . . . Anthropologists will, and should, use Wilmsen’s meticulously detailed study to revise their early lectures in the introductory course, and no future study of African ’foragers’ should ignore it."—Parker Shipton, American Anthropologist

"An impressive book. . . . The reader need only read the first few pages to judge both the quality and ambitiousness of the work. . . . Essential reading."—David R. Penna, Africa Today

420 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1989

African Studies

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Table of Contents

1. The Evolution of Illusion
Man Hunter: A Nineteenth-Century Legacy
The Received Past
Search for Authenticity
2. The Poverty of Misappropriated Theory
Return to Authenticity
Revival of the Primitive Critique
As They Begin to Produce, So We Begin to Know Them
Foragers Come to Class
The Uses of Ecology
3. The Past Recaptured
The Recovered Past
The Recorded Past
4. The Past Entrenched
Consolidation of the Underclass
The Underclass Solidified
5. The Ideology of Person and Place
Concepts of Possession
Kinship and Tenure
Convergence of Indigenous Systems
Coherence in Concepts of Tenure Systems
6. The Political Construction of Production Relations
Economic Correlates of Foraging and Food
Allocation of Access to the Means of Production
Production as a Function of Emergent Status
Structural Divisions in an Appearance of Equality
Kinship as Practice
Class Characteristics of Zhu Social Relations
7. What It Means to Be Excluded
The Emergence of Ethnicity as a Central Logic
Subordinate Tiers in the Labor Reserve
Contemporary Relations of Production
Value Flow in an Uncertain Cash Economy
The Political Economy of Physiology and Physique
The Direction of Intention


School of Oriental and African Studies: Edgar Graham Book Prize

African Studies Association: Melville J. Herskovits Award

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