The ethnography of egalitarian social systems was first met with sheer disbelief. Today it is still hotly debated in a number of fields and has gained sophistication as well as momentum. This collection of essays on "property and equality" acknowledges this diversification by presenting research results in two complementary volumes. They bring together a wide range of authoritative researchers most of whom have worked with hunter-gatherer groups. These two volumes cover existing ethnographic and theoretical ground while maintaining a clear focus on the relation between property and equality. The book consists of the most recent work of prominent members of the original group of researchers in hunter-gatherer studies among them James Woodburn and Richard Lee, and very recent ethnography on hunter-gatherers and other egalitarian systems.
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"These excellent books enrich our understanding of immediate return societies and the persistence of immediate-return arrangements in delayed-return societies. I was reflecting recently that anthropologists have not given sufficient attention to Woodburn's theoretical framework. These contributions go a long way towards filling that gap." · Jérôme Rousseau in Anthropological Forum