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 was egalitarian and non-hierarchical in nature. 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 tribal matriarchy. With increasing farming and the increasing contact hunter-gatherer society had with farmers, hunter-gatherer society population has steadily decreased.

Hunting and gathering was subsistence strategy of hunter gatherer society 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. Research suggests that hunter-gatherers of animal food and hunter-gatherers of vegetarian food indicate that hunter-gatherer societies are largely free of diseases of civilization.

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 society has non-hierarchical, egalitarian social structure. In a hunter-gatherer society 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-gatherer society 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.

Examples of Hunter Gatherer Societies Of Modern World

Three hunter-gatherer societies in rural parts of Africa and South America. Investigations showed that these traditional peoples slept slightly less than 6.5 hours a night on average. In comparison, people in industrial societies usually average seven to eight hours per night. The three hunter-gatherer societies are the Hadza of Tanzania, the San of Namibia and the Tsimane of Bolivia. After collecting 1,165 days' worth of data on these hunter-gatherers, the scientists found a surprising similarity across the three groups. "We find that contrary to much conventional wisdom, it is very likely that we do not sleep less than our distant ancestors," said the study's senior author, Jerome Siegel, a sleep researcher at the University of California, Los Angeles. Siegel and his colleagues found that the hunter-gatherers they examined only rarely took naps.

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, Goteborg 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.