8 Hunting and social status
DOI link for 8 Hunting and social status
8 Hunting and social status book
The evidence suggests that the Wola could not depend on hunting for subsistence to any extent and exist as a population. Moreover, as argued later, it questions the idea that hunter-gathering could ever have been a viable lifestyle in the Highlands. It is inappropriate to think of hunting as a productive activity in the light of the energy deﬁcit. It is more akin to a pastime, as Bulmer concluded some time ago: ‘Hunting is a sport, a game, in which man pits himself against animate, if non-human, adversaries’ (1968: 302). Furthermore the cost-beneﬁt ratio makes it inappropriate to consider applying to Wola behaviour the ideas of optimal foraging theory that were prominent in hunter-gatherer studies a decade or so ago (Winterhalder 1981; Smith 1983; Dwyer 1985c). The capitalist-informed notion of optimality suggests that they should stop hunting altogether. An entirely different cultural logic informs their behaviour, one that complies to a signiﬁcant degree with the demands of socio-political exchange. Again playing the stateless political game is prominent, just as it is in zoological taxonomy, discussed in Part 1. The implications of energetically negative Wola hunting are intriguing with respect to the transactional foundations of their acephalous sociopolity and its power-diffusing constitution, pertaining to the obfuscation of the production of wealth.