chapter  1
30 Pages

Introduction

WithBrian Morris

This chapter aims to provide some of the background material relevant to the study, and discusses the theoretical perspective that informs the study, the social setting, animal/human relationships in an historical context. Anthropology, despite its diversity, has a certain unity of purpose and vision. Hunter-gatherer social attitudes towards nature, though complex and diverse - it cannot be reduced to a single metaphor-expressed neither an attitude of ‘dominance’ towards the natural world, nor of passivity or abject submission toward over-powering natural forces, but rather stressed the need to maintain a sense of harmony with the world. The importance of animals among early hunter-gatherers is illustrated by their rock-art, which invariably depict animals or human/animal relationships. It seems generally agreed that this rock art - in both Europe and Africa - had a religious significance. The chapter also presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in this book.