Re: On the word "Primitive"

Ronald Kephart (rkephart@OSPREY.UNF.EDU)
Mon, 5 Aug 1996 14:05:01 -0400

In message <v02130500ae28b03c1d95@[]> Warren Sproule writes:

> PC too often blurs issues I prefer to keep clear. My
> line would be to retain "primitive", but handle with care/use *creatively*

I agree that the word may be useful at times, provided that what it means is
clearly understood. But I dodn't think "PC" has anything to do with it. The
fact is that societies like the !Kung et al. are not demonstrably "primitive."
They are modern peoples living in a comparatively marginal environment; their
present culture has evolved to help them cope with these conditions. Arguing
that their culture is primitive is not just politically incorrect; it is
anthropologically incorrect.

Ronald Kephart
University of North Florida