Hunter-Gatherer Social Framework

An Introduction


Why Do We Care?

As discussed earlier, at ABetterSociety.Info three societal frameworks are used to help readers better understand societies and view them from a global perspective. The different types of societies used here are hunter-gatherer, class-based, and equality-based. The differences and likenesses of these frameworks can be used to identify and study different nations. Through these studies, strengths and improvement opportunities can be identified in a nation and approaches developed to address needed social changes. Also, through using this approach to studying societies it is possible to gain additional knowledge about physical artifacts from ancient cultures about which little is recorded in written history.

The Hunter-Gather Framework is discussed in the following sections.

The hunter-gatherer social structure was the first developed by humans. To survive and prosper hunter-gatherers are solely depend on what they can gather and use directly from nature. Some isolated people still live this way in remote areas of the world.

Why should we be interested in a hunter-gatherer social framework? A major reason is that many of the challenges we face today originated in hunter-gatherer societies. Many were necessary social factors that helped hunter-gatherers survive in the past but are archaic hindrances today.  These harmful factors are imbedded into the minds of children by parents as culture without realizing the harm they do today.  What was their usefulness in the past? Why are they problems today? How can we improve society today if we do not understand why and how current problems originated?

 A number of factors make it difficult for us to understand hunger-gatherers. These are briefly discussed here.

It is difficult for people to understand the world view of hunter-gatherers. The societies most people live in today are very different from theirs. We view hunter-gatherer people through a lens created in our minds based on the society we live in and what we know that they did not. During talks about hunter-gatherers, it is common for participants to say something like, “Living like that doesn’t make sense. If I had to live as a hunter-gatherer, I would do things differently.” To understand the hunter-gatherer social framework, it is easier if readers blank out much of the knowledge they have learned since childhood. The knowledge children gain from their parents today is designed to help them live in today’s world, not a hunter-gatherer’s world.

Another way to better understand hunter-gatherers is to think of how you would live if the world were hit by a large meteor or asteroid that wiped out most of what we have today in terms of food production, water, transportation, communication, medical care, governmental structure, and so on.  

How would you go about surviving as an individual and as a member of your family under circumstances much like those faced by hunter-gatherers? When that happens, and it probably will happen someday, unfortunately many people will starve to death. Their error will be to attempt to utilize what they have learned to live in today’s world that will not apply in a new hunter-gatherer world.


Before beginning to describe our hunter-gatherer social framework, it seems best to an answer obvious question about the information proved in the following sections. How do we know about hunter-gatherer’s way of life? Instead of answering this question in informational notes and a bibliography later, the next section will address that question.

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 © Joseph L. Bass, EdD, May 2020