Anthropologists have been interested in African societies and cultures for several decades. Few will dispute the contributions which British social anthropologists and others have made to the understanding of African institutions, especially in the domains of kinship and marriage, political organization, and most recently in urban studies. Many of these studies, however, have been avowedly synchronic; they are intended as descriptions of societies at a single time level. Even in those cases where the anthropo- logist has been privileged to conduct research within the same society over an extended period of time, the problems of social and cultural change which he documents generally involve modifications of ‘traditional’ institutions and behavior in the context of colonialism, postcolonialism, and world capitalism. While such studies are extremely important, the processes they describe do not exhaust the limits of the study of change in African society.
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