Kinship and scale on paradoxes in hunter-gatherer studies and how to overcome them

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This paper addresses the nature of ‘community’ for hunter-gatherers, in the wake of previous interest in their senses of the ‘person’. It is argued that in order to understand their senses of ‘community’, we must freshly take up issues of kinship and scale that have been marginalised for several decades now within hunter-gatherer scholarship. Newly approached, kinship and scale should be broadly integrated as key issues in describing, analysing and theorising hunter-gatherer life-ways. I examine how commonplace discursive norms in anthropological writing, unintentionally and yet effectively, jeopardise studying hunter-gatherers own understandings of their social reality, including identifying their groups by ethnonyms and their members as individuals. It is suggested that their human and non-human communities are better understood through relational kinship perspectives.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)177-192
Number of pages16
JournalHunter Gatherer Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Liverpool University Press.


  • Community
  • Scale kinship
  • Sharing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Anthropology
  • Archaeology


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