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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Conventional strangers: itinerant agency, asymmetry and 'Karoo culture'
Author:De Jongh, MichaelISNI
Periodical:African Anthropology (ISSN 1024-0969)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:South Africa
Southern Africa
Subjects:social integration
Urbanization and Migration
Labor and Employment
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Anthropology, Folklore, Culture
Karoo (South Africa)
Community life
social structure
Karretjie (African people)
Abstract:The itinerant Karretjie people (literally Donkey Cart people) occupy a unique niche within the mainstream of the rural and urban communities of Colesberg in the sheep-farming area of the Karoo, South Africa. Here they exploit the need for various specialized services, particularly sheep shearing, which the sedentary and other client groups cannot or will not provide. As the Karretjie people lack control over and rights to the natural and human resources in their particular setting, their relationship not only with the client community, mainly sheep farmers, but also with other employers, is generally that of strangers. Through an examination of the human situation and context of the Karretjie people the author explores the reciprocal interaction between human practice or agency and structure or culture. Inasmuch as the Karretjie people have become part of the regional 'Karoo culture', their strategies and actions take place according to the parameters of this culture. On the other hand, even given their situation of inequality, their strategizing and choices are often intended not only to change their own particular patterns of behaviour but also to challenge the prescriptions of the rules, norms and beliefs of the wider community. Bibliogr., sum.