San and the State

San and the State

ISBN 978-3-89645-357-0

San and the State

Contesting Land, Development, Identity and Representation

Edited by: Thekla Hohmann. With contributions by: Susanne Berzborn, Gertrud Boden, Michael Bollig, Ute Dieckmann, Thekla Hohmann, Ina Orth, Steven Robins, Michael Taylor, Thomas Widlok. Series edited by: Michael Bollig, Wilhelm J.G. Möhlig †.

Series: HSA History, Cultural Traditions and Innovations in Southern Africa Volume 18

8 pp. Roman, 402 pp.
18 maps, 5 b/w photos, 4 diagrams, 17 tables
Text language(s): English
€ 69.80

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The present volume contains nine papers resulting from recent anthropological research with San communities in southern Africa. The authors shed light on the current situation of different San groups in Botswana, Namibia and South Africa. All papers deal with the relationship between the San and the state as well as the consequences for the life of local communities. Whereas the majority of contemporary research underscores external influence, this volume places its emphasis on local factors.


Thekla Hohmann: San and the State – An Introduction

Ute Dieckmann: The Impact of Nature Conservation on San – A Case Study of Etosha National Park

Thomas Widlok: The Needy, the Greedy, and the State – Dividing Hai//om Land in the Oshikoto Region

Ina Orth: Identity as Dissociation – The Khwe’s Struggle for Land in West Caprivi

Gertrud Boden: ‘Caught in the Middle’ – Impacts of State Decisions and Armed Conflicts on Khwe Economy and Ethnicity in West Caprivi between 1998 and 2002

Thekla Hohmann: ‘We are Looking for Life. We are Looking for the Conservancy’ – Namibian Conservancies, Nature Conservation, and Rural Development – The Náa-Jaqna Conservancy

Michael Taylor: ‘Wilderness’, ‘Development’, and San Ethnicity in Contemporary Botswana

Michael Bollig: Between Welfare and Bureaucratic Domination – The San of Ghanzi and Kgalagadi Districts

Susanne Berzborn: ‘Ek is `n Nama, want ek praat die taal’ – The Richtersveld and the National Language Policy in South Africa

Steven Robins: NGOs, ‘Bushmen’ and Double Vision – The ákhomani San Land Claim and the Cultural Politics of ‘Community’ and ‘Development’ in the Kalahari


Under these links you will find publications by the contributors and further descriptions of San culture(s) and languages:

Accompanying material:



This is a refreshing book for two reasons. First, there are no contributions by scholars based in North America. Thus it would appear to signify a break from the academic hegemony of North American scholars on those now labeled "San". Second, it does not have a chapter focusing on those most famous of San, the Ju/'hoansi immortalized in John Marshall's films and the ethnographies of Lee and Biesele. By broadening and internationalizing the scholarly enterprise, this volume shows how much more complex both the San and their scholarship are. [...] This is a most worthwhile volume.

Robert Gordon in African Studies Review, 47/1, 2004, 217-218

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