Draper, Patricia. 1992. “Room to Maneuver: !Kung Women Cope with Men.” In Sanctions and Sanctuary: Cultural Perspectives on the Beating of Wives. Edited by Dorothy Ayers Counts, Judith K. Brown, and Jacquelyn C. Campbell, pp.43-61. Boulder, CO: Westview.

While spouse abuse probably occurred among the Ju/’hoansi (formerly known as the !Kung) in the past, a number of factors helped to prevent it, most importantly the strong opposition in their society to physical aggression. In an earlier paper (Draper 1975, also available as a PDF in this website), the author described trends that she had witnessed at Ju/’hoansi settlements in the late 1960s that might lead to decreased autonomy for women and perhaps more abuse from their husbands as the people increasingly abandoned their nomadic existence and settled into permanent villages. During a 1987-1988 visit with them, however, she found that while conditions had changed for Ju/’hoansi women, they had not necessarily deteriorated when they abandoned nomadic life as she had suspected they might. She describes four incidents of spouse abuse that occurred while she was there and how the women handled the violence in different ways since their circumstances have changed.

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