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The Invention of Tribe & Tradition F14
Transcript of The Invention of Tribe & Tradition F14
What were your thoughts over Davidson's film?
--precolonial trade established
--gold & salt across Sahara & throughout West Africa
--Eastern coast trading with Asia
--1st Portugal: looking for direct access to gold
-- then ivory
British, Dutch, French followed
--Dutch establish settlement in south Africa in 1652
slave trade-- European commodities & guns traded for slaves (triangle trade)
Political colonialism- fueled by industrialization
--need for raw materials (tin, copper, diamonds)
--cash crops (cocoa, peanuts, rubber, peanuts
European nations competing for territories
--mostly along coast
--"Scramble for Africa"
Resolve at Berlin Conference (1884-85)
--ban importing guns into Africa, except for colonial use
--only Liberia & Ethiopia without colonizers
After WWI- Germany lost possessions-- divided amongst the rest
--treaties & military force
Would you describe missionaries as a part of the colonial imperialism?
--colonialism not a monolithic, coherent process
missions generally 1st converted
-disenfranchised (ill, poor, former slaves, youth)
--more influence with educational structures
How did the colonizers rule? How did they pay for the colonies?
--British East Africa Company (1888) - Kenya
--British South Africa Company (1887)-
--Rhodes (also founder of DeBeers)
--Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia
--associated also with economic corporations
--Dutch settlers in South Africa (Boers)
--assimilation (esp. French)
--cheap & forced labor
Indirect Rule (Lord Lugard in Nigeria):
--British (& France)
--use indigenious leaders to administer rules/collect taxes
--assumed everyone lived in 'tribes'-- needed to (re)create order
What is a "tribe"?
-- political & social system
--organized around kinship or other feature rather than a legitimized rule
18th-20th C use of 'tribe'
--groups less evolved, small, simple
--share language, culture, identity, religion,
--"closed", unchanging customs
What is Ranger's & Southall's critique?
invention of 'tradition'
but..'tribe' as unchanging, stable useful to indirect rule
--find the rules, find the chief
--based on what colonizers imagined to be the political and jural systems
--British-- looking for rules of election
--French--looking for those who understood French and could administer colonial rules
--not every society had a 'chief'
--independent political groups subsumed into more powerful groupings
--contests for power/resources
--'chief' legitimized by colonial admin
Anthropologists & Colonialism
What role did Anthropologists have in colonialism and to what extent did they share the fiction of 'tribe' & 'tradition'?
Asante Anthropology Department:
--beneficial to 'people'
--based on hereditary
--principles of redistribution
--logic of Asante Constitutionalism
reinforced particular interpretations of the past
Was Rattray really an anthropologist?
--anthropology taught to colonial officers
--varied in association
--but dependent on colonial administration for resources and access
--critique was limited
Malinowski (1927- LSE)
--advocated for anthropology as intermediary to prevent errors in colonial policy
Alone or in research centers:
--International Institute of African Languages (funded by Rockefeller Foundation)
--East Africa Institute
--Rhodes-Livingstone Institute (funded by government and copper mines)
Influenced by Radcliffe-Brown's Structural Functionalism
--based off Durkheim- social cohesion
--reject social evolutionism
--internal logic, integrated whole
--function of institutions
--comparative -- looking for categories and classifications
--understood culture as 'closed system' that functioned before colonialism
--state of equilibrium
--looking for "pure editions"
Also looking at social change via colonialism, migration, urbanisation, Christianity, etc...
--how much of the 'tribal' is lost?
--two societies-- 'tribal' & 'modern'
--Africa in transition
--undergoing break-down, not in equilibrium
Victor Turner- Ndembu (Zambia)
--culture not integrated whole, but filled with conflict
--Look at real people, set in specific time, not just recording 'traditions'
'A culture' need not be homogeneous, or even particularly coherent. Instead of assuming far-reaching cultural sharing, a 'replication of uniformity', we should take a distributive view of cultures as systems of
meaning...(look at culture) in more processual terms. There is a 'management of meaning' by which culture is generated and maintained, transmitted and received, applied, exhibited, remembered, scrutinised and experimented with." Hannerz
Why are we drawn to ideas about the Maasai being 'timeless' and holding 'secrets' that we have lost throughout time?
what kind of power dynamics and different levels of exploitation exist in cultural tourism and 'selling' indigniety to Western consumers?
Why is it problematic historically and contemporarily to understand the Maasai as having received 'gifts' from the West, and that now indigenous knowledge is a 'gift' given back?
How do claims of indigeniety among the Maasai relate to the Tanzanian state and global institutions through the incorporation of indigenous rights as human rights?
Who gets to define what the 'traditional Maasai does or did?