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Title:The pastoral son and the spirit of patriarchy: religion, society, and person among East African stock keepers
Author:Meeker, Michael E.ISNI
Series:New directions in anthropological writing
City of publisher:Madison, Wisc.
Publisher:The University of Wisconsin Press
ISBN:0299117405; 0299117448
Geographic terms:East Africa
cattle complex
Abstract:In order to achieve a global picture of the social correlates of stockkeeping among peoples who practise archaic modes of food production, this study isolates the effects of stockkeeping on masculine identity by a comparative method. Most of the chapters are devoted to a comparison of small differences between two similar pastoral peoples, the Dinka and the Nuer of Sudan. The first three chapters analyse Dinka traditions and institutions from the perspective of tension between patriarchal authority and filial individualism. Ch. 1 considers the way in which the personal identity of the Dinka son is shaped by his relationship with his father. After showing how this feature of the son-father relationship is a direct consequence of Dinka pastoral ecology, the author examines the songs composed and performed by Dinka youths. In ch. 2, the representations of Dinka fathers and elders are compared to the songs of Dinka sons. In ch. 3, the side of Dinka religion which is linked with the considerable spiritual and material power of cattle-owning patriarchs is considered. The next two chapters compare the pastoral traditions and institutions of the Nuer and Dinka. In ch. 4, the differences between Nuer and Dinka traditions and institutions are analysed in terms of the different emphasis on cattle raiding. In ch. 5, Nuer religion is compared with Dinka religion. The remaining three chapters test the conclusions reached in the initial chapters by applying them to examples of East African and Old World stockkeepers.