Sunday, February 11, 2007

Hunting as a Societal Benchmark

The more we discuss hunting in a historical context in lecture and the more I read about it, it is becoming clear that the concept of hunting is a great indicator for historians to utilize to study culture and class structure is century old societies. Similar to how ecologists use certain species (plant or animal) as bio-indicators to measure environmental degradation over periods of time; historians can use the concept of hunting to measure the status quo of social interaction over time. Cited as cultural expectation under King James I in Manning, is the desire for young men to prove their masculinity and martial valour. This is an important concept because it is one that would apply to the youth of all social classes. Manning then goes on to dicuss the continued appeal of the sport of hunting to popular tastes, which again would put it at the level of all social classes. Moreover, in Manning's section on "Popular Culture," he states that hunting and fishing rights were among the initial demands made in Germany's Peasent War of the early 16th-century; indicating that the idea of hunting rights were as basic as the right to food. This furthers the idea that hunting has evolved into something that the government can regulate, but cannot deny to the masses of any social structure. In conclusion, this evolution of hunting is remarkably linked to the aggregation of social rights over the last 300-400 years. As one can see in our own country today a culmination of those rights in Natural Resources Departments in every state int he Union that cater to their citizen's right to hunt and fish with minimal government intervention. Overall, I believe that connections between the idea of hunting and social rights over time go far deeper than I have discussed in this posting, but I think it is most important that people (those interested in the development of American social philosophy in particular) recognize the linkage that most certainly exists between the two concepts.

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