The Harmless People
Elizabeth Marshal Thomas, an anthropologist from Cambridge, Massachusetts, travelled to the Kalahari Desert in Namibia and Botswana with her family to study the culture of the Bushmen people who live there. The Bushmen are a small tribe of people who inhabit the desert and live a very unique life. They are traditionally hunter-gatherers and they work hard to live a sustainable lifestyle. Emile Durkheim, one of the great anthropologists of the nineteenth century, proposed a theory that societies are held together either by organic or mechanical solidarity. Organic solidarity is when different people specialize in different areas and they are interdependent upon each other’s skills and they form together to make one society, and mechanical solidarity is when people are more independent, however the society exists because of a common belief they all have (Crandall, 11). The Bushmen’s society possesses both organic and mechanical solidarity traits that are evident when it comes to their religion, societal roles, and marriages.
Religion and Beliefs
The Bushmen have multiple beliefs that represent mechanical solidarity. These beliefs, along with their religion, basically control all of the Bushmen’s lives. Everything they do revolves around their spiritual beliefs and superstitions. They strongly believe many things that they have been taught to be true for as long as they can remember and these beliefs are what define them as who they are.
One of their beliefs is that there is something dangerously powerful that remains on the grounds that they are unable to see but it is the reason why the men must be separated from the women, whenever they have a fire. At every fire, the men must sit on the right side and the women must sit on the left side. If a man was to sit on the opposite side, he would become impotent and he would lose his ability to hunt. If a woman was to sit where a man had been previously sitting, she would obtain a disease in...