Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Restricted Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program

Government and Legal Studies

First Advisor

Ericka Albaugh


The foraging lifestyle is declining in Africa. State building initiatives, ecosystem conservation, NGOs promoting conservation or economic development, and technological shifts curtail hunter-gatherers’ ability to express the foraging culture. The strength of these variables define the rate of the hunting and gathering decline. Strong states pursuing state-building and strong conservation initiatives accelerate the rate of the foraging decline. Conversely, weak states and weak conservation implementation slow down the foraging decline. NGOs able to defend conservation and economic development also increase the rate of decline, whereas NGOs promoting cultural diversity delay it. The case studies of Botswana, Namibia, Angola and Tanzania illustrate how these pressures affect hunter-gatherers. The social, political, economic and ecological implications of this dying way of life expose the tension between group rights and individual rights and suggest a balance between government functions and citizens’ obligations towards the state.


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