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date: 25 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

A concept of the hunter-gatherer similar to the one we possess today, and more specifically a concept of hunter-gatherer society, emerged during European Enlightenment. Before that time, the idea of a ‘hunter-gatherer’ was subsumed under an idea of human nature or natural humanity. The existence of hunter-gatherer society was predicated on a theory of society in which economics became a defining attribute, and this came to be the case during the eighteenth century, especially in Scotland. In the Romantic period, interest in the hunter-gatherer as a category waned. Nevertheless, the idea re-emerged among successors to the Romantic tradition, and in particular, in German-language and American anthropological traditions. Ultimately, the idea of hunter-gatherers gained prominence among evolutionists of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. It is this tradition that we inherit in modern hunter-gatherer studies.

Keywords: enlightenment, romantic period, evolutionist

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