Ethnology

Published by University of Pittsburgh, Department of Anthropology
Print ISSN: 0014-1828
Publications
The origin and evolution of the nineteenth-century Zulu Kingdom are used to examine two competing state formation theories: Robert Carneiro's circumscription theory and Elman Service's theory of institutionalized leadership. Both theories partly clarify Zulu political developments: Carneiro's explains the origin and territorial expansion of the Zulu empire, while Service's can account for the beginning differentiation of political roles in the Zulu state. Two alternative explanations of the causes of Zulu state formation are discussed to integrate the diverging theoretical perspectives of Carneiro and Service. First, the role of the Zulu king, Shaka, should be considered politically relevant only inasmuch as Shaka's wars of conquest were instrumental for the unification of the Zulu Kingdom. Second, further developments in Zulu politics involved limited structural change from dispersed tribes to a unified military state. The analysis of political formations, including their origin and further transformation, should not be conducted in unilinear evolutionary terms, but from a multidimensional processual perspective. (State formation, circumscription theory, institutionalized leadership, Zulu Kingdom).
 
This article explores how marriage patterns and practices changed over the course of 60 years in Willow Pond Village (a pseudonym), a rice-farming community on the Yangzi Delta, 50 km. west of Shanghai. Data gathered during eight months of fieldwork in 1990 reveal the intimate relationship between marriage and changes in the local political climate and illustrate the ways in which marriage reflects and reproduces the local social hierarchy. (Marriage, family, kinship, social stratification, China).
 
The representation of Igbo peoples as practitioners of twin abomination is very much part of a historical process in which missionary and colonial interest in twin killing as a sign of African atavism played a significant role. This article explores the historical record for information about twin abomination and twin murder, taking into account the paradoxical nature of twinship not only for Igbo-speakers but for the missionaries who wished to convert the Igbo and stamp out what they called "the demon superstition". (Twinship, West Africa, colonialism, missionization, avoidance behaviors).
 
The Kobon in Papua New Guinea have transformed a central aspect of their social organization, namely the dialectic of violence and co-operation, subsequent to the activities of the Australian colonial administration. This article analyzes the pattern of colonial control by taking into account: 1) how the Kobon and the Australian colonial administration perceived each other, 2) how they interacted, and 3) which transformations emerged from their interactions. (Historical anthropology, colonial encounter, social order, violence, Papua New Guinea).
 
Being "modern" is an aspiration for many in sub-Saharan Africa and entails certain widely held expectations regarding material living conditions and social status. Using ethnographic and survey data on female fertility from two communities of southern Nigeria, this article describes some of the ways women are becoming modern and analyzes the forces behind these changes. The discussion includes education, initiation rites, premarital pregnancy, marriage, and the influence of Pentecostal Christianity. In agreement with modernization theory, there is a trend toward women becoming more educated and autonomous. They also increasingly valorize monogamy, companionate marriage, smaller families, and inclusion in the formal economy. In contradiction to the expectations of modernization theory, there is no decline in supernatural beliefs. Contemporary Christian churches are important to women becoming modern by helping them develop networks through voluntary associations, responding to women's aspirations for material goods, alleviating kin obligations, and encouraging personal spiritual advancement. (Southern Nigeria women, fertility, modernity, Pentecostal Christianity).
 
Describes the pattern of suicide in Truk, an island group with a population of 40 000 situated in the geographical centre of the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, to present a basic typology of suicide, and to indicate its cultural significance. Shows how suicide serves as a culturally patterned response; and that the increase in suicides in Western Samoa shows similarities to that in Truk; the age-sex group affected is the same, as is the etiology and circumstances of death.-from Author
 
This article analyzes the historical articulation of modernity with the shifting production of Maasai masculinities in Tanzania, Combining ethnographic and historical sources, I explore the shifting meanings, referents, and experience of two Maasai masculinities which refract the modern/traditional dichotomy imposed and sustained during the colonial and postcolonial periods. Probing the intersection of modernity and masculinity demonstrates that masculinities are relational, historical, produced rather than constructed, and the site of local mediations of modernity.
 
Despite the considerable literature on the Tolai that has been produced by modern anthropologists as well as earlier ethnographers, we still lack a contemporary account of their notions of sorcery and its practice. This article is an attempt to plug this gap. Of all the ethnic groups in Papua New Guinea, the Tolai have had the longest and closest experience of the wider society that came into being with the onset of colonial rule. Over the past hundred years and more, the Tolai have seen momentous changes that have touched almost every aspect of their society and culture. Since, as with so many other tribal societies, magic was such a central feature of their world-view, the question arises of how the traditional belief in and practice of sorcery have been affected by their changed circumstances. This is the question that the article seeks to address. (Witchcraft, sorcery, social change, Tolai).
 
OBSERVED FREQUENCIES IN THE MEASURE OF SIMILARITY BETWEEN LINKED PAIRS AT VARIOUS INTERVALS
This paper presents the first research results of the Cross-Cultural Cumulative Coding Center (CCCCC), a unit established at the University of Pittsburgh in May, 1968, with support from the National Science Foundation. It offers to scholars a representative sample of the world's known and well described cultures, 186 in number, each "pinpointed" to the smallest identifiable subgroup of the society in question at a specific point in time
 
Among the Duna people of Papua New Guinea, ideas about the dead and the living are intertwined through cosmological perceptions of, and ritual interactions with, the landscape. These ideas change to accommodate and deal with new issues that arise. Malu (narratives of origins) link kin with land and to spirit figures. In the context of colonial and post-colonial mining for minerals and drilling for oil, malu have been reformulated as a way of claiming compensation from mining companies. Central to the Duna perspective is the notion that the agencies and substances of the dead and the living are interlinked. An act of suicide may lead to demands for compensation as a result of the suicide being caused by "shaming": the agency of the dead person therefore lives on. In images of this sort, the connection between the living and the dead is vividly portrayed. (Agency, ancestors, compensation, cosmology)
 
Kinship systems have a perennial fascination. From Morgan's day to the present, a long succession of authors have produced their diagrams and algebraic explanations . . . Kinship terminology and its diagramatic arrangements provide, ready made, a delightful series of mathematical abstractions and it is all too easy to develop their analysis into a 'system' having little relation to sociological facts. This paper considers four propositions about the meaning of kinship terms in relation to a pertinent set of sociological facts about the actual assignment of relationship terms in a community. Its purpose is to shed quantitative empirical light on what has been largely a theoretical debate. Journal Article
 
The electronic version of this book has been prepared by scanning TIFF 600 dpi bitonal images of the pages of the text. Original source: Ethnographic atlas.; Murdock, George Peter, 1897-1985.; 128 p. 24 cm.; [Pittsburgh]; This electronic text file was created by Optical Character Recognition (OCR). No corrections have been made to the OCR-ed text and no editing has been done to the content of the original document. Encoding has been done through an automated process using the recommendations for Level 2 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines. Digital page images are linked to the text file.
 
Thesis (M.A.)--University of Hawaii. Includes bibliographical references. Film copy. Positive.
 
This paper has two aims. The first is to describe an ethnographically new system of color classification, Binumarien, a non-Austronesian or Papuan language of the Eastern Central Highlands of New Guinea2. In this connection we are particularly interested in relating our data to the Berlin and Kay (1969) theory of the universality of basic color terms. If one takes seriously the criticisms of possible English bilingual interference in the experimental studies, and questionable rules of inference in the interpretation of the nonexperimental studies (Hickerson 1971), then the theory is clearly in need of more and better data. Journal Article
 
Transmigration settlements are planned according to Indonesian government priorities, which intend them to help build an imagined community, a unified nation. They are also places where settlers struggle to build their own vision of community as a place where they feel they belong. This article introduces the history of the Indonesian program and the place of Sulawesi transmigration settlements in nation-building. Peer Reviewed http://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/2027.42/39189/2/hoey_ethnology_2003.pdf
 
How does change in one part of a social system affect other parts? This is the central question that must be answered in order to understand the process through which culture changes. This paper is about a small piece of the problem. It investigates how changes in subsistence economy affect child behavior and the relations between parents and children among !Kung Bushmen of Western Botswana. We will show that the adoption of a sedentary life style and a new technology of food production is associated with changes in the social interactions between parents and children and between children and their peers. The social and physical settings of everyday life also change with economic practices. We will describe these differences and discuss their implications. Among the !Kung, foraging and settled groups differ markedly in child behavior and in social interactions between parents and children. Compared with bush-living children, sedentary children do more work, range farther from home, show more sex differentiated behaviors, and interact more with peers. These changes are especially interesting since they appear to result from changes in economy and adult work roles, not from a conscious change in child socialization by adults. These findings shed light on the ways in which social and economic changes affect individual behavior and lead to new normative patterns.
 
Through a study of the ceremonial stick duelling among the Surma of southern Ethiopia, this article explores the sociocultural context of ritual violence in a small-scale agropastoralist society and its relation to social reproductive concerns. Surma male stick duelling ('sagine'), contained by strict rules of procedure, is a form of ritualized violence among Surma themselves, and contrasts sharply with violence against members of non-Surma neighbouring groups. 'Sagine' can be interpreted not only as the management of relations between competing territorial sections within Surma society, but also in terms of the connection between sociality and sexuality in Surma life. However, contrary to sociobiological predictions, combat success is neither valued for its own sake nor does it show itself to be reproductively advantageous in a statistical sense
 
This article on the catching and processing of sea shrimp investigates the relationship between differing degrees of access to the means of production and the generation of economic inequalities among the Miskitu people of Kakabila in Nicaragua's Pearl Lagoon. The widely held Kakabila notion that the production of wealth among some entails a concomitant impoverishment of others(Foster's “image of the limited good”) is shown, in the context of the local sea-shrimp economy, to have a verifiable basis in truth.
 
Anthropologists writing on the Highlands societies of Papua New Guinea have stressed the variable importance of ideas of menstrual pollution as markers of gender relations. This article suggests an alternative approach to these ideas, emphasizing instead aspects of power, placement, complementarity, collaboration, and the moral agency of both genders. Turning to the ethnographic work of the 1960s, we contrast the writings of Salisbury and Meggitt and discuss the usefulness of the "three bodies" concept of Lock and Scheper-Hughes in the comparative analysis of body substances and their meanings in this region. The use of a collaborative model is helpful in such an overall analysis.
 
The installation of each of the three socially transformative regimes of twentieth-century Spain (the Second Republic, the military dictatorship of Francisco Franco, and the restoration of democracy following his death) has been marked by sweeping changes in the street names of the Andalusian town of Almonte. This paper considers how the content of these toponymic changes reflects the goals, tactics, ideology, and ethos of each successive regime as it stipulated a new relationship between the inhabitants and those who govern them; the Second Republic used street names to advance its educational agenda, the dictatorship deployed toponyms to threaten the townspeople, and the socialist democracy fashioned a crafty symbolic compromise aimed at ending the onomastic cycle of victors and vanquished.
 
Most of the recent publications are attempts to account for the persistence of ethnic identity in the modern social context and much less has been written about the role of ethnicity in determining socioeconomic status and economic opportunity. This article explores the role of five ethnic groups in the first 50 yr of the commercial salmon fishery of Puget Sound. Although significant numbers of these groups were integral in the development of the fishing industry, by the 1930s the participation of all but those of European origin was negligible. The political economy of the fishing industry from 1880 to 1935 was a process of inclusion then exclusion of certain groups and ultimately the entrenchment of select groups. Not only were economic factors inherent in capitalist enterprise at work, but so were federal and state actions and the political interest of the local dominant society. The Puget Sound case also illustrates the importance of including an examination of political factors in the analysis. -from Author
 
"Omaha" kinship is a major model for patrilineal kinship and marital exchanges. However, some authors have suggested that kinship rules and unilineal descent are merely theoretical constructs of anthropologists or cultural ideals usually not followed in practice. Given the importance of "Omaha" kinship for theory, this article tests the normative rules for marriage against empirical data on actual marriage behavior among the late-nineteenth-century Omaha tribe of Nebraska using Bureau of Indian Affairs census rolls. The results confirm that the majority of Omaha did indeed follow the normative rules upon which the "Omaha" model is based. The implications for kinship studies is that descent theory and alliance models can still be considered valid approaches to societies prior to historic changes.
 
Starting from a discussion of theoritical approaches to conversion to Christianity, this article discusses the mission of the Protestant Moravian Church among the Nyakyusa of southwestern Tanzania. It shows that the missionaries' success did not depend on the alleged greater rationality of a world religion, nor was it simply a result of colonial domination. It depended on the ability of the missions to address existing inequalities and tensions within Nyakyusa society. Beyond this, the response to Christianity differed widely according to age and gender. (Colonialism, Christian missions, conversion, Nyakyusa, Tanzania).
 
A historical model is outlined and applied to the case of the forest zone from the time of effective French colonial administration of the area early in the 20th century, to the present day. It is argued that the model of lineage production, is useful in understanding the social behaviour of incipient cocoa and coffee farmers during 1920-45. It is further argued that the evolution of rural society during 1920-1980 can best be explained as a shift from lineage to small-scale capitalist farm production, from an extended kin system to a peasant system. The transition from one system to the other, occurring largely in the 1945-60 period, was shaped by factors internal to the dynamics of the lineage configuration, including farm expansion and the intensification of labour, which imposed demands that could not be met by extended kin workers; and by external factors including government policies on public investment, cocoa and coffee marketing, land tenure, and education. From 1960 onwards, small scale capitalist production was well established in the Ivorian forest zone.-from Author
 
The rescue of the Danish Jews from the Nazi roundups of 1943 has become the defining image of Judaism in Denmark, both within the country and to the world outside. This article examines the way in which this story about the past has been constructed, Focusing particularly on its portrayals of the types of groups involved and on the motivations of the rescuers. It argues that the dominance and durability of this story in defining Jewish identity in Denmark stems from the type of relationships it posits between Danish Christians, Danish Jews, and worldwide Jewry. Anthropological studies of tradition could be enriched by a greater focus on such collaborative constructions of the past.
 
This article describes the conceptions of governmental power held by Burmese villagers in Upper Burma, and the degree to which their conceptions correspond to the behavior of government officials at the township and district levels. The ethnographic present is Burma prior to the 1962 military coup.
 
Presents the results of a restudy of a community on the Bay of Bengal, Tamil Nadu, which was first surveyed in 1965. These data provide a picture of how this low-status community has responded to urban growth (it is now engulfed by the suburbs of Madras) and expanding job opportunities. Finds extensive diversification of the occupational structure of the village, upward occupational mobility of the fisher caste households, and increased prosperity for most families.-M.Barrett
 
In 1990, a strike of national significance took place at large-scale egg- and poultry-raising facilities in Yucatan, Mexico. This article relates the history of the struggle of Maya-speaking workers to form independent unions and of the event that came to be known as the "War of the Eggs." Part of that struggle relates to the formation of an archive by strikers, and the eventual production of a historical narrative of the conflict by labor organizers from elsewhere in Mexico. An ethnographic reading of event, archive, and history demonstrates some of the ways that local understandings of past, present, and future shaped the account authored by organizers, transforming a story of national infamy into one of local redemption.
 
Western and Melanesian cultures frame time differently. The Western concept of time is mainly linear, whereas with the Abelam of Papua New Guinea it is primarily episodic and organized around a cycle of ceremonial yam growing. In episodic time, current events are thought to be repetitions in an unchanging temporal reality; in linear time, events cause change gradually. From the Abelam perspective, real change can only occur cataclysmically via a total restructuring of the world. Such notions fit comfortably with cargo cult beliefs and contemporary Melanesian anxieties concerning the year 2000.
 
This essay examines Aboriginal people's expression of Christian ideologies, values, and behaviors in regard to personhood. Christian practice in Galiwin'ku is a repertoire of individualization that fosters self-reliance and self-actualization, which relate to employment benefits and positions of political authority. Christianity is an important and equivocal site for staging opposition between community residents and for the expression of indigenous political agency within and beyond the settlement. Examining how Christianity informs the production of identities sheds light on some of the ways in which Aboriginal people negotiate tensions arising from a market economy and an egalitarian ethos.
 
This article interprets the symbolism and politics of Iatmul time (Sepik River, Papua New Guinea). Social life is structured by different forms of time (e.g., totemism, myth, Omaha terminologies, ritual). Furthermore, mythic history is a mode of ritual politics. Finally, Iatmul time symbolizes paradoxes of gender. The article concludes by comparing the temporality and gender of Melanesian cosmology with the Aboriginal dreamtime.
 
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The Miwok of California stand out as the sole North American society classified by Rodney Needham (1962) as practicing asymmetric prescriptive marriage alliance. This essay reviews evidence from Gifford, the sole ethnographic source on Miwok marriage, and how later commentators (including Le~vi-Strauss, Murdock, Kroeber, and Leach) employed Gifford's findings, in order to assess how far and in what ways Needham (1962) may have been correct when he construed the Miwok as practicing prescriptive marriage. Consideration is also given to the Miwok system of symbolic classification, which very probably contributed to Needham's interpretation. Concerning a major aspect of the work of one of the most prominent British anthropologists of the twentieth century, the objective is to illuminate a palpable mystery in the history of anthropological theories of kinship and marriage and to explore aspects of Needham's approach to systems of affinal alliance that have yet to be subjected to a substantial critical treatment. (Rodney Needham, Miwok, prescriptive marriage, kinship and marriage, symbolic classification).
 
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Top-cited authors
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