Leadership in Public Arenas

There are no formal leadership roles among the Hadza; egalitarian is the only way to describe them (Woodburn, 1979). The elderly are dominant over the young and men over women, but even these differences are slight. This does not mean that individuals never try to boss others around. This does occasionally happen when someone has some link to outsiders, such as missionaries or government officials, that gives them some leverage. Others tend to simply ignore them once the outsider who leaves.

While men may talk about moving camp, it is usually not until the women are ready to move that a move occurs. Moves often occur because women are forced to go too far to get tubers, or because berries have just ripened elsewhere. Old people who are not senile are often called upon to make decisions and settle disputes. Men do most of the public oratory and decision-making, but women voice their opinion, sometimes in public and plenty at home, often loudly.

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