Lee, Richard B. 1978. “Politics, Sexual and Non-Sexual in an Egalitarian Society.” Social Science Information 17: 871-895

Lee discusses political issues such as leadership, equality, power, and gender relations in the !Kung (now referred to as Ju/’hoansi) society. He argues that the lifestyle of the !Kung does not support arguments that non-western societies have more equitable or idealistic gender relations than western society, or the opposite, that women in traditional societies are completely exploited by their men. Leadership qualities vary among the !Kung: some leaders are excellent speakers, some have strong personalities, some have gruff manners, some are charming, some are mellow, and some are soft-spoken. They share no common traits except that they are rarely aloof, boastful, overbearing, or arrogant, characteristics that they can’t accept. The essence of the !Kung way of life is sharing, a practice that prevails generally among foraging groups of people. The !Kung should not be idealized, however, since individuals have to cope with contradictions to socially approved norms, selfish impulses, and tensions of all sorts.

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