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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Kinship and Contract in Somali Politics
Author:Mohamed, Jama
Year:2007
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Volume:77
Issue:2
Pages:226-249
Language:English
Geographic term:Somalia
Subjects:political systems
Somali
kinship
patriarchy
contracts
Politics and Government
Ethnic and Race Relations
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Links:https://doi.org/10.3366/afr.2007.77.2.226
http://muse.jhu.edu/journals/africa_the_journal_of_the_international_african_institute/v077/77.2mohamed.pdf
Abstract:Traditional Somali politics was based on two dialectically related principles: kinship and contract ('tol iyo xeer'). Although kinship has received a great deal of attention in the literature produced in Somalia since the collapse of the State in 1990 the social contract has not. Yet it is hardly possible to understand kinship fully without taking into account the social contract, which is the legal charter, so to speak, of the kinship system. Kinship was founded on the segmentary lineage system under which people traced their descent to common male ancestors. Agnates functioned as corporate political groups because they were blood relatives. But the blood relation was not sufficient to establish a political system. Agnates functioned as corporate political groups because they negotiated a social contract ('xeer') that defined the terms of their collective unity. The first part of this article examines Somali agnation. The second part examines how the ties created by the social contract make possible the functioning of the relations of agnation. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract, edited]
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