Sociology Index


The hunter gatherer society is the earliest form of human society and still persisting to some extent in remote regions of the world. The hunter gatherer society had an economic base that rested on the use of the naturally occurring animal and plant resources of the environment.

The hunter gatherer society does not practice agriculture or raise and herd animals. Social structure is usually egalitarian with little economic and gender inequality. Private property is minimal in hunter gatherer society. The hunter gatherer society is among the early societies believed to have had a matriarchal tribal system.

Hunting and gathering was subsistence strategy of hunter gatherer societies for more than two million years. In a hunter-gatherer society the subsistence method was the direct procurement of edible plants and animals from the wild, foraging and hunting without significant recourse to the domestication of either. The Hunter-gatherer society obtains most from gathering rather than hunting.

Originally, hunter-gatherer society lived exclusively in open savanna and were generally meat scavangers than hunters. They used carcasses of large animals killed by other predators or carcasses from animals that died by natural cause.

Ethnographic studies and historical information, provide information about hunter-gatherer society. Interdisciplinary fields such as ethnohistory, ethnoarchaeology, human ecology, paleoanthropology and paleoethnobotany also throw light on hunter-gatherer society.

Hunter-gatherer societies have non-hierarchical, egalitarian social structures. In hunter gatherer societies there is sexual parity.  Egalitarianism is common in hunter-gatherer groups. Hunter gatherer societies will share meat with the rest of the group.

In hunter-gatherer societies war is caused by grudges and vendettas rather than for territory or economic benefit.

Marxists have theorised that hunter-gatherers would have used primitive communism and anarcho-primitivists elaborate the mechanics further by asserting it would have been a gift economy. Mutual exchange and sharing of resources are important in the economic systems of Hunter gatherer societies. - Thomas M. Kiefer "Anthropology E-20". Subsistence, Ecology and Food production. Harvard University.

Upper Palaeolithic figures as a reflection of human morphology and social organization
Duhard, Jean-Pierre - Antiquity 67. 254 (March, 1993): 83 (9 pages).
Abstract: An analysis of Upper Palaeolithic figures indicated a sexual social differentiation in the hunter-gatherer society and showed the priviledged role accorded to women in the primitive community.

Biogeography and Long-Run Economic Development
Ola Olsson and Douglas A. Hibbs, Jr.
Working Papers in Economics no 26 August 2000 - Department of Economics, Göteborg University
Abstract: The transition from a hunter-gather economy to agricultural production, which made possible the endogenous technological progress that ultimately led to the industrial revolution, is one of the most important events in the thousands of years of humankind’s economic development.