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Accueil du site → Doctorat → États-Unis → 1978 → Hunting and gathering as a strategic adaptation : the case of the Boni of Lamu District, Kenya

Boston University (1978)

Hunting and gathering as a strategic adaptation : the case of the Boni of Lamu District, Kenya

Harvey, Steven

Titre : Hunting and gathering as a strategic adaptation : the case of the Boni of Lamu District, Kenya

Auteur : Harvey, Steven

Etablissement de soutenance : Boston University

Grade : Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) 1978

Hunters and gathers have commonly been viewed from several perspectives. Until recently, most hunters and gatherers have been assumed to be survivals of a Paleolithic way of life persisting in the security of ecologically marginal areas. They also have been seen as exhibiting a common form of social organization - the band. More recently it has been argued that hunting and gathering can only be viewed as one occupational strategy employed by some members of a larger society. This dissertation argues that these perspectives do not adequately explain the existence of hunting and gathering groups today. Instead it is proposed that hunting and gathering be viewed as an ecological adaptation. People hunt and gather by choice since everywhere they are familiar with alternative means of subsistence and interact with peoples using these alternatives. Hunting and gathering, it is hypothesized, is a technological strategy rendered successful because : 1. (a) there have been pressures from the physical environment which made technological strategies like farming and herding risky, and (b) There have been pressures from the socio-cultural environment like long periods of civil strife which created refugees who sought safety in the forests, and ; (2) There has been a constant external demand for products of the hunt, with ivory being significant for at least two millenia. Evidence is presented to back up each of these hypotheses using the example of the Boni of Lamu District, Kenya. It indicates that they are derived from a predominantly pastoral population, which migrated into a large forested area between the Tana River of Kenya and the Juba River of Kenya and the Juba River of Southern Somalia some 2,000 years ago. They adapted to hunting and gathering because it was the only viable means of exploiting the forests, and possibly because there was an increasing demand for ivory. Historical data demonstrates that a high degree of population mobility has been taking place among ethnic groups whose boundaries are in part defined by technological level. During ecosystem crises such as droughts and wars, some members of the various populations within the region fled to the safety of the forests where hunting and gathering provided a secure means of survival. There some ’became’ Boni. During favourable periods of years, Bonis left the forests and took up farming, or herding, eventually assimilating into other populations. An understanding of this process can contribute to our knowledge not only of the specific history of the Tana-Juba region but also of the mechanisms by which cultural adaptation takes place

Sujets : Boni (African people)/Ethnology/Anthropology/Juba River, Somalia/Tana River, Kenya/Lamu District/ ;


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