Draper, Patricia. 1976. “Social and Economic Constraints on Child Life among the !Kung.” In Kalahari Hunter-Gatherers: Studies of the !Kung San and Their Neighbors, edited by Richard B. Lee and Irven DeVore, p.199-217. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press

Life in the Ju/’hoansi camp—referred to as the !Kung in this article—is intimate and close. The 30 to 40 people in a band build small huts backed up to the bush and clear a central area for their eating, sleeping, and living space. Each family has its own hearth in front of the hut, but there is no privacy between families. Adults are highly tolerant and patient toward their children, whom they don’t supervise too closely. Adults do intervene, however, to discourage displays of aggression, particularly among children of different ages. The children do not engage in competitive games, in part because there are not very many of them and the age differences among the children would not allow even-aged competitions to take place. The ecology of the desert and the Ju/’hoansi food-gathering practices militate against having children help out with most adult tasks.

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