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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Class Formation and Gender in Precolonial Somali Society: A Research Agenda
Authors:Kapteijns, LidwienISNI
Spaulding, JayISNI
Periodical:Northeast African Studies
Geographic term:Somalia
Subjects:social structure
social history
Women's Issues
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Cultural Roles
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/43660259
Abstract:This essay formulates a new approach to the social history of Somali society (particularly its northern part: former British and French Somalilands and the northern portion of Italian Somaliland) in the precolonial era. In the place of the historiographically familiar model of the centralized State, largely irrelevant in the context of precolonial Somalia, the authors substitute as central organizing principles throughout the structure of gender relations and the process of class differentiation. They endorse and reformulate insights from the study of law, religion, and healing, and ground these in African political economy. Special attention is given to women. They examine three types of social formations which have coexisted in the Horn of Africa in the precolonial era: the precapitalist non-State, social formation of nomadic pastoralists; precapitalist kingdoms, such as Ethiopia, that have impinged on Somali history for centuries; and the city-States, enclaves of commercial capitalist practice, that have dotted the Somali coast since before the beginning of the Common Era. Notes, ref.