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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Hunting and the gnostic vision
Author:Morris, BrianISNI
Periodical:The Society of Malawi Journal
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Malawi
Central Africa
Subjects:subsistence economy
rites of passage
Anthropology, Folklore, Culture
Manners and customs
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/29778737
Abstract:Both advocates of the 'hunting hypothesis' thesis, such as Robert Ardrey, and feminist critics of hunting, such as Carol Adams and Andree Collard, see hunting as destroying the 'peaceful relationship' that formerly existed between proto-humans and animals and as involving violence, aggression, the creation of a gender hierarchy and the estrangement of humans from the natural world. However, anthropological data suggest that hunter-gathering communities are characterized rather by a pervasive egalitarian ethos, lack a pronounced gender hierarchy and stress the need to maintain a sense of harmony with the world. Even in a context where hierarchical relationships have long been pervasive, as in Malawi, the ethos of subsistence hunting still carries similar associations to those of hunter-gatherers, as the author's description of the communal hunt ('uzimba') and ritual aspects of hunting indicates. Rather than seeing sexuality/childbearing (women) and hunting (men) in gnostic fashion as antithetical activities, in the Malawian context human procreation and hunting are viewed analogously as similar positive social processes. Whereas the semen of the male affine activates the blood of the woman to produce a child so the hunter uses ' heat' - fire, poison, spears and arrow heads - to produce meat. Hunting is viewed not as the negation of life and procreation, but rather as a ritual of transformation. Bibliogr.