Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Social Anthropology and Two Contrasting Uses of Tribalism in Africa

  • Peter P. Ekeh (a1)
Abstract

A remarkable feature of African studies has been the sharp discontinuities in the characterization of transitions in African history and society from one era to another. Thus, for an important example, colonialism has rarely been related to the previous era of the slave trade in the analysis of any dominant socioeconomic themes in Africa. Such discontinuity is significant in one important strand of modern African studies: The transition from the lore and scholarship of colonial social anthropology to postcolonial forms of African studies has been stalled into a brittle break because its central focus on the “tribe” has been under attack. Social anthropology gained strength through its analysis of the tribe and its associated concepts of kin groups and kinship behaviors in colonial Africa. However, following criticisms of the mission and manners of social anthropology by postindependence African scholars and politicians, and a brave reexamination of the conceptual problems of their discipline, social anthropologists more or less agreed to abandon the use of the tribe and of its more obvious derivative tribalism with respect to Africa.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Abernethy David B. 1969. The Political Dilemma of Popular Education: An African Case. Palo Alto, Calif.: Stanford University Press.
Afigbo A. E. 1972. The Warrant Chiefs: Indirect Rule in Southeast Nigeria 1891–1929. London: Longmans.
Ajayi J. F. Ade. 1961. “The Place of African History and Culture in the Process of Nation-building in Africa South of the Sahara.” Journal of Negro Education, 30:3, 206–13.
Ajayi J. F. Me, and Alagoa E. J.. 1974. “Black Africa: The Historian's Perspective.” Daedalus, 103:2 (Spring), 125–34.
Akinjobin L. A. 1967. Dahomey and Its Neighbours 1708–1818. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Talal Asad, ed., 1973. Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter. London: Ithaca Press.
Asamoa Anoa. 1982. Classes and Tribalism in Ghana. Accra: Information Service Department.
Basden G. T. [1938] 1966. Niger Ibos. London: Frank Cass.
Biobaku S. O. 1957. The Egba and Their Neighbors 1842–1872. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Bloch Marc. [1940] 1961. Feudal Society. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Boahen Adu. 1987. African Perspectives on Colonialism. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
Bohannan P.; and Bohannan L. 1953. The Tiv of Central Nigeria. London: International African Institute.
Bradbury R. E. 1973. Benin Studies, Morton-Williams Peter, ed. London: Oxford University Press.
Brown Richard. 1973. “Anthropology and Colonial Rule: The Case of Godfrey Wilson and the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute, Northern Rhodesia,” in Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter, Asad Talal, ed., 173–97. London: Ithaca Press.
Brown Richard. 1979. “Passages in the Life of a White Anthropologist: Max Gluckman in Northern Rhodesia.” Journal of African History, 20:4, 525–41.
Bryant A. T. 1929. Olden Times in Zululand and Natal. London: Longmans.
M Carter Gwendolen.; and O'Meara Patrick, eds. 1985. African Independence: The First Twenty-five Years. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Chitepo Herbert. 1970. “The Passing of Tribal Man: A Rhodesian View,” in The Passing of Tribal Man in Africa, Gutkind Peter C. W., ed., 1015. Leiden: E. J. Brill.
Cissoko S. M. 1984. “The Songhay from the 12th to the 16th Century,” in Africa from the Twelfth to the Sixteenth Century, vol. 4 of the General History of Africa, Niane D. T., ed., 187210. Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Cocquery-Vidrovitch Catherine. 1978. “Research on an African Mode of Production,” in Relations of Production. Marxist Approaches to Economic Anthropology, Seddon David, ed., 261–88. London: Frank Cass.
Cohen Ronald. 1966. “The Dynamics of Feudalism in Bornu,” in African History, vol. 2 of Boston University Papers on Africa, Butler Jeffrey, ed., 85105. Boston: Boston University Press.
Crowder Michael. 1968. West Africa Under Colonial Rule. London: Longmans.
Curtin P. D. 1969. The Atlantic Slave Trade: A Census. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press.
Daaku K. Y. 1965. “The Slave Trade and African Society,” in Emerging Themes of African History, Ranger T. O., ed., 134–40. Dar-Es-Salaam: East African Publishing House.
Das Bhuban Mahan. 1964. Kaharpara. Gauhati: Department of Tribal Culture and Folklore Research, University of Gauhati.
Davidson Basil. 1971. “Slaves or Captives? Some Notes on Fantasy and Facts,” in Key Issues in the Afro-American Experience, Huggins Nathan, Kilson Martin, and Fox Daniel M., eds., 5493. New York: Harcourt Brace Javanovich.
Dike K. O. 1956. Trade and Politics in the Niger Delta. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Dike K. O.; and Ajayi J. F. Ade. 1968. “African Historiography,” vol. 6, 394–99, of International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Sills David, ed. New York: MacMillan and Free Press.
Easton David. 1953. The Political System. New York: Knopf.
Eghervba Jacob. [1934] 1968. A Short History of Benin. Ibadan: Ibadan University Press.
Ekeh Peter P. 1974. Social Exchange Theory: The Two Traditions. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Ekeh Peter P. 1975. “Colonialism and the Two Publics in Africa: A Theoretical Statement.” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 17:1, 91112.
Ekeh Peter P. 1976. “Benin and Thebes: Elementary Forms of Civilization,” vol. 8 of The Psychoanalytic Study of Society, Muenstenberger Werner, Esman Aaron H., and Boyer L. Bryce, eds., 6593. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Ekeh Peter P. 1986. “Development Theory and the African Predicament.” Africa Development, 11:4, 140.
Ekeh Peter P.; and Osagahae E. E., eds. 1989. Federal Character and Federalism in Nigeria. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books.
Engels Frederick. [1884] 1942. The Origin of the Family, Private Property, and the State. New York: International Publishers.
Epstein A. L. 1958. Politics in an Urban African Community. Manchester, England: Manchester University Press for Rhodes-Livingstone Institute.
Evans-Pritchard E. E. 1940. The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of a Nilotic People. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Fage J. D. 1964. “Some Thoughts on State Formation in the Western Sudan Before the Seventeenth Century,” in Boston University Papers in African History, vol. 1, Butler Jeffrey, ed., 1934. Boston: Boston University Press.
Fege J. D. 1969 a. A History of West Africa, 4th ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Fege J. D. 1969 b. “Slavery and the Slave Trade in the Context of West African History.” Journal of African History, vol. 10, 393404.
Fege J. D. 1974. States and Subjects in Sub-Saharan African History. Johannesburg: Witwastersand University Press.
Fields Karen E. 1985. Revival and Rebellion in Colonial Central Africa. Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press.
Forde D. 1967. “Introduction,” in West African Kingdoms in the Nineteenth Century, Forde D. and Kabeny P. M., eds. London: Oxford University Press.
Forde D.; and Kaberry P. M., eds. 1967. West African Kingdoms in the Nineteenth Century. London: Oxford University Press.
Fortes M. 1945. The Dynamics of Clanship Among the Tallensi. London: Oxford University Press.
Meyer Fortes; and Evans-Pritchard E. E., eds. 1940. African Political Systems. London: Oxford University Press.
Fox R. G. 1971. Kin, Clan, Raja and Rule: State-Hinterland Relations in Preindustrial India. Berkeley: University of California Press.
Freedman J. D. 1961. “On the Concept of the Kindred.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, no. 91 (pt. 2: 07-12), 192220.
Fried Morton H. 1967. The Evolution of Political Society. New York: Random House.
Furnivall J. S. 1948. Colonial Policy and Practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gluckman Max. 1945. “Seven-Year Research Plan of the Rhodes-Livingstone Institute of Social Studies in British Central Africa.” Rhodes-Livingstone Institute Journal, no. 4, 132.
Gluckman Max. 1960. “Tribalism in Modem British Central Africa.” Cahiers d'Etudes Africaines, 1:1, 5570.
Gluckman Max. 1961. “Anthropological Problems Arising From the African Industrial Revolution,” in Social Change in Modern Africa, Southall Aidan, ed., 6782. London: Oxford University Press.
Goody Jack. 1969. “Economy and Feudalism in Africa.” The Economic History Review, 2d. ser., 22:3, 393405.
Green M. 1947. Ibo Village Affairs. London: Oxford University Press. Gutkind, Peter C. W., ed. 1970. The Passing of Tribal Man in Africa. Leiden: E. J. Brill.
Guyer Jane I. 1981. “Household and Community in African Studies.” African Studies Review, 14:2–3, 87137.
Hailey Lord. 1938. An African Survey. London: Oxford University Press.
Hair P. E. 1978. The Atlantic Slave Trade and Black Africa. London: The Historical Association.
Harris Marvin. 1968. The Rise of Anthropological Theory: A History of Theories of Culture. New York: Thomas Y. Crandall.
June Helm, ed. 1968. Essays on the Problem of the Tribe. Seattle: Washington University Press.
Hopkins A. G. 1973. An Economic History of West Africa. New York: Columbia University Press.
Ikime Obaro. 1968. Merchant Prince of the Niger Delta. London: Heineman Educational Books.
Inikori J. E. 1977. “The Import of Firearms into West Africa, 1750 to 1807: A Quantitative Analysis.” Journal of African History, 18:3, 339–68.
E Inikori j. ed. 1982. Forced Migration: The Impact of the Export Slave Trade on African Societies. New York: African Publishing Company.
Isichei Elizabeth. 1976. A History of the Igbo People. New York: St. Martins Press.
Johnson Marion. 1976. “The Atlantic Slave Trade and the Economy of West Africa,” in Liverpool, the African Slave Trade, and Abolition, Anstey Roger and Hair P. E., eds., 1438. [Liverpool]: Historic Society of Lancanshire and Chershire.
Johnson S. [1921] 1966. The History of the Yorubas. London: Routledge and K. Paul.
Jones G. I. 1963. The Trading States of the Oil Rivers. London: Oxford University Press.
Kuper Adam. 1973. Anthropologists and Anthropology. The British School 1922–1972. New York: Pica Press.
Kuper Adam. 1982. “Lineage Theory: A Critical Retrospect.” Annual Review of Anthropology, no. 11, 7195.
Lackner Helen. 1973. “Colonial Administration and Social Anthropology,” in Anthropology and the Colonial Encounter, Asad Talal, ed., 123–51. London: Ithaca Press.
Langham Ian. 1981. The Building of British Social Anthropology: W. H. H. Rivers and His Cambridge Disciples in the Development of Kinship Studies, 1898–1931. London: D. Reidel Publishing Company.
Law Robin. 1977. The Oyo Empire c.1600–c.1836. A West African Imperialism in the Era of the Atlantic Slave Trade. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Lee Pamela Reynolds. 1971. Tribalism. New York: American-African Affairs Association.
Levine Donald N. 1974. Greater Ethiopia. The Evolution of a Multiethnic Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Lewis I. M. 1968a. “Tribal Society,” vol. 16, 146–51, of the International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, Sills David, ed. New York: Macmillan and Free Press.
M Lewis I.. ed., 1968b. History and Social Anthropology. London: Tavistock.
Lloyd P. C. 1955. “The Yoruba Lineage.” Africa, 25:3, 235–51.
Lloyd P. C. 1962. Yoruba Land Law. London: Oxford University Press.
Lloyd P. C. 1971. The Political Development of Yoruba Kingdoms in the 19th and 20th Centuries. London: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland.
Loeb E. M. 1962. In Feudal Africa. Bloomington: University Research Center in Anthropology.
Lugard Lord. 1942. “Foreword,” in S. F. Nadel, A Black Byzantium: The Kingdom of Nupe in Nigeria. London: Oxford University Press (for the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures).
Mafeje A. 1971. “The Ideology of Tribalism.” Journal of Modern African Studies, 9:2, 253–61.
Maine Sumner Henry. 1888. Lectures on the Early History of Institutions. New York: Henry Holt.
Mamdani Mamood. 1976. Politics and Class Formation in Uganda. New York: Monthly Review Press.
Manning Patrick. 1982. Slavery, Colonialism, and Economic Growth. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Maranda Pierre. 1974. French Kinship: Structure and History. The Hague: Mouton. Market Research Company of East Africa. 1961. Public Opinion Poll on Tribalism in Kenya. Nairobi: Market Research Company of East Africa.
Marx Karl; and Engels F.. [1845] 1970. The German Ideology. New York: International Publishers (in English).
Mayer P. 1961. Townsmen or Tribesmen? Capetown: Oxford University Press (for the Institute for Social and Economic Research, Rhodes University).
Mitchell J. Clyde. 1956. The Kalela Dance: Aspects of Social Relationships Among Urban Africans in Northern Rhodesia (Rhodes-Livingstone Paper no. 2). Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Mitchell J Clyde. 1960. Tribalism and the Plural Society. Inaugural Lecture at the University College of Rhodesia and Nysaland. London: Oxford University Press.
Mitchell J. Clyde. 1970. “Tribe and Social Change in South Central Africa: A Situational Approach,” in The Passing of Tribal Man in Africa, Gutkind Peter C. W., ed., 83101. Leiden: E. J. Brill.
Murray Alexander C. 1983. Germanic Kinship Structure. Studies in Law and Society in Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages. Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Medieval Studies.
Nadel S. F. 1942. A Black Byzantium. London: Oxford University Press.
Nagaland, Government of. 1968. Commission to Survey the Work Done by Tribal Range, and Area Councils. Kohima: Nagaland Government Press.
Nnoli O. 1978. Ethnic Politics in Nigeria. Enugu: Fourth Dimension Publishers.
Olderogge D. A. 1957. “Feudalism v Zapadnom Sudane v 16–18vv.” Sovietskaya etnografia, 4:1, 91103.
Omer-Cooper J. D. 1966. The Zulu Aftermath. Evanston, III.: Northwestern University Press.
Okot p' Bitek. 1970. African Religions in Western Scholarship. Nairobi: East African Literature Bureau.
Oyovbaire S. Egite. 1983. “The Tyranny of Borrowed Paradigms and the Responsibility of Political Science: The Nigerian Experience,” in Political Science in Africa: A Critical Review, Barongo Yolamu, ed., 239–54. London: Zed Press.
Phillpotts Bertha Surtees. [1913] 1974. Kindred and Clan in the Middle Ages and After. A Study in the Sociology of the Teutonic Races. New York: Octagon Books.
Plotnicov Leonard. 1970. “Rural-Urban Communications in Contemporary Nigeria: The Persistence of Traditional Social Institutions,” in The Passing of Tribal Man in Africa, Gutkind Peter C. W., ed., 6682. Leiden: E. J. Brill.
Potekhin I. I. 1970. On Feudalism in the Ashanti. Moscow: Oriental Publishing House.
Prah K. K. 1977. Notes and Comments on Aspects of Twsana Feudalism. Gaborone: National Institute.
Pratap I. R. 1968. A Study of the Andhra Pradesh Scheduled Tribes. Hyderabad: Tribal Cultural Research and Training Institute, Government of Andhra Pradesh.
Radcliffe-Brown A. R. [1924] 1952. “The Mother's Brother in South Africa.” South African Journal of Science, 21, 542–5. Reprinted in Structure and Function in Primitive Society. Essays and Addresses. New York: The Free Press.
Radclife-Brown A. R. 1950. “Introduction,” in African Systems of Kinship and Marriage, Radcliffe-Brown A. R. and Forde Daryll, eds., 185. London: Oxford University Press.
Radcliffe-Brown A. R.; and Forde Daryll, eds. 1950. African Systems of Kinship and Marriage. London: Oxford University Press.
Walter Rodney. 1966. “African Slavery and Other Forms of Social Oppression in the Context of the Atlantic Slave-Trade.” Journal of African History, 7:3, 431–43.
Rodney Walter. 1972. How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Washington, D.C.: Howard Uni versity Press.
Rubenson S. 1964. Wuchale XVII: The Attempts to Establish a Protectorate over Ethiopia. Addis Ababa: Haile Salassie University.
Ryder A. F. C. 1969. Benin and the Europeans, 1485–1897. New York: Humanities Press.
Service, E. R. 1975. Cultural Evolutionism. New York: Holt, Rhinehart and Winston.
Sklar Richard L. 1985. “The Colonial Imprint on African Political Thought,” in African Independence. The First Twenty-Five Years, Carter Gwendolen M. and O'Meara Patrick, eds., 130. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
Smith M. G. 1960. Government in Zazzau: 1800–1950. London: Oxford University Press.
Smith R. 1969. Kingdoms of the Yoruba. London: Methuen.
Somalia Democratic Republic. 1983. War Against the Evils of Tribalism in Our Country. Mogadishu: Ministry of Information and National Guidance.
Southall Aidan. 1970. “The Illusion of Tribe,” in The Passing of Tribal Man in Africa, Gutkind Peter C. W., ed., 2850. Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill.
Southall Aidan. 1983. “The Contribution of Anthropology to African Studies.” African Studies Review, 26:3–4, 6396.
Somuthall Aidan. 1988. “The Segmentary State in Africa and Asia.” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 30:1 (01), 5282.
Strivastava L. R. N. 1971. Developmental Needs of the Tribal People. New Delhi: National Council of Educational Research and Training.
Suret-Canale J. [1964] 1971. French Colonialism in Tropical Africa 1900–1945. New York: Pica Press.
Vansina J. 1960. “Recording of Oral History of the Bakura.” Journal of African History, 1:1, 4553.
Vansina J. [1961“ “Once Upon a Time: Oral Traditions as History in Africa.” Daedalus, 100:2 (Spring), 442–68.
Williams Eric. [1944] 1964. Capitalism and Slavery. London: Andre Deutsch.
Williams F. R. A. 1976. Report of the Constitution Drafting Committee Containing the Draft Constitution, vol. 1. Lagos: Federal Ministry of Information, Printing Division.
Wilson Godfrey. [1941, 1942] 1968. An Essay on the Economics of Detribalisation in Northern Rhodesia (Rhodes-Livingstone Papers 5 and 6). Reprinted in Manchester, England: Manchester University Press.
Wilson J. L. 1856. Western Africa: Its History, Condition, and Prospects. New York: Harper and Brothers.
Wrigley C. C. 1971. “Historicism in Africa: Slavery and State Formation.” African Affairs: Journal of the Royal African Society, vol. 70 (no. 279, 04), 113–24.
Zolberg Aristide. 1966. Creating Political Order: The One-Party States of West Africa. Chicago: Rand McNally.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Comparative Studies in Society and History
  • ISSN: 0010-4175
  • EISSN: 1475-2999
  • URL: /core/journals/comparative-studies-in-society-and-history
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 52 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 446 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 22nd October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.