Nisa Marjorie Shostak Summary

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In her book, Nisa: The Life and Words of a !Kung Woman, author Marjorie Shostak follows the !Kung, a tribe in the African Kalahari Desert. She especially follows Nisa, a woman part of this hunter-gatherer society, and translates Nisa’s experiences and stories for audiences to enjoy. Each chapter first offers general information about the !Kung’s traditions and customs to provide a broad overview of the society. They also contain the interviews Shostak conducted with Nisa, presenting Nisa’s specific stories and allowing the reader to have a more detailed and individual understanding of the group. Shostak’s ethnography works through various stages of life in this particular civilization including childhood, marriage, giving birth, and old age. However, Marjorie Shostak not only wrote this book to provide insight…show more content…
Early in the ethnography, Shostak discusses children and how they discover sexual play early on in their childhoods (95-99). Men, women, and children alike are very open sexually. Although most of the time women and men are barely covered, there is no stress on nakedness. Because of how they grow up, most !Kung possess self-confidence. Shostak describes an instance in which she encountered a little girl just entering the stages of puberty. Instead of being embarrassed of her changing body, she is self-assured and states that she is beautiful (241). It is also clear from Shostak’s observations and interviews that women are eager to talk about their marriages and sex life (237). From the ethnography, it is seen that infidelity and the taking of lovers is very common though also hidden (238). Even children learn about lovers at a young age (109). One of the main points of the book is the female sexuality. It is recognized within the !Kung culture that women have sexual needs as much as men

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