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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Lineage and society in precolonial Uganda
Author:Stephens, RhiannonISNI
Year:2009
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Volume:50
Issue:2
Pages:203-221
Language:English
Geographic term:Uganda
Subjects:patriarchy
social structure
language history
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/25622021
Abstract:This article examines the changing nature of patrilineality in east-central Uganda from the sixth century. While traditional anthropological models of lineality have been largely dismissed in recent scholarship, the problem remains that patrilineages and patriclans have played important roles in the lives of the Ganda, Gwere, Soga and their North Nyanza ancestors. By carefully examining changes and continuities in the form and content of patrilineality it becomes possible to understand it as historically contingent. In North Nyanza, patrilineal descent was the norm for inheritance and for household formation, but relationships formed through mothers were also crucial in the creation of new communities and in the legitimation of political power. This was not static: as communities negotiated their changing circumstances, so they adapted the form of their particular patrilineality to serve their needs. The article draws on historical linguistic, ethnographic and oral historical evidence and uses the 'words-and-things' approach, which is grounded in the methods of comparative historical linguistics. App., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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