Social Organization

Social Organization - 1) sodalities (age-sets,...

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Social Organization Pastoralist societies must solve 2 interrelated problems: 1) articulate herds with their sustaining resources (nutritionally-adequate pasture, water), which requires mobility and intensive information-gathering 2) articulate management and utilization of herds by different members of society, which requires social mechanisms (division of labor, economic transactions, rules of transfer & inheritance, etc.) Resulting organization of labor and social institutions is complex and variable, but as a general rule can say that these represent a compromise , an attempt to balance 1) flexibility needed to manage herd movements, information-sharing, risk-pooling, and 2) formal institutions needed to control ownership & transfer of wealth (stock, any agricultural land, other wealth goods) as well as adjudicate conflicts Social mechanisms for achieving flexibility are varied, but usually include:
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Unformatted text preview: 1) sodalities (age-sets, associations, ritual groups, etc. which cross-cut kinship & residence units); 2) well-developed means of information-sharing (visiting networks, meeting places, festivals, etc.); 3) co-operative work units (e.g., "camp clusters" of E. African cattle herders -- temporary associations) Formal social institutions focus on inheritance (kinship/descent systems, usually patrilineal) and marriage (bride-price, transfer of stock between spouses, & between lineages, rules of marriage & residence) Combination of flexibility (to allow herd mobility, deal with unpredictable pasture resources) and formal systems of inheritance and alliance (to control use & transfer of stock) give pastoralist societies their special qualities (though of course each society has unique characteristics depending on local ecological & socioeconomic conditions)...
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