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F18 The Invention of Tribe & Tradition

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Julie Jenkins

on 4 December 2018

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Transcript of F18 The Invention of Tribe & Tradition

The Invention of Tribe & Tradition
Resolve at Berlin Conference (1884-85)
--divide territories
--ban importing guns into Africa, except for colonial use
--only Liberia & Ethiopia without colonizers
How did the colonizers rule?
How did they pay for the colonies?
Economic Corporations:
--British East Africa Company (1888) - Kenya
--British South Africa Company (1887)-
--Cecil Rhodes (also founder of DeBeers)
--Nyasaland (Malawi), Northern Rhodesia (Zambia), Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe)
Settler Rule:
--also associated with economic corporations (Kenya, Zimbabwe)
--Dutch settlers in South Africa (Boers)/ Dutch East India Company from 1652-1795
Direct Rule:
--centralized administration through colonizers
--assimilation techniques (esp. French)
--forced labor
Indirect Rule (Lord Lugard in Nigeria):
--British (& French)
--use indigenous leaders to administer rules/collect taxes
--assumed everyone lived in 'tribes'-- needed to ("re")create order
The 'invention' & misuse of 'tribe'

What did you find interesting in this article?
Why were colonialists eager to describe groups of people as 'tribes'?
-- political & social system
--organized around kinship or other feature rather than a centralized ruler
18th-20thc use of 'tribe'
--groups less evolved, small, simple
--share language, culture, identity, religion,
--"closed", unchanging customs
"Invention of Tradition"
--based on administrators' interpretation of African customs, political structures, etc.
--power in being able to define and order groups of people
concept of '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

'Inventing' Chiefs
--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'?
Government Anthropologists
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"
--the "tribe"
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
--Social Dramas
--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
Is the term ethnicity better/ more accurate?
"Inventing" Chiefs
How did the French adminster control over Maka peoples? Who did the French favor as chiefs? How did chiefs to try to legitimize their authority?
How did the British administer control over Bakweri peoples? What were their motivations? How did chiefs legitimize their power in this case?
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