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Anthropologica (Old Series) 1962

Codere, Helen. Power in Rwanda. Anthropologica, 1962. IV(1): 45-86.

Codere argues for an interpretation of power in relation to Rwanda’s social and political organization. The article begins with a brief history of the separate origins and existence of Rwanda’s three ethnic groups; the Hutu, Tutsi and Twa. Although the Hutu composed the majority of the population in Rwanda, the Tutsi minority were established as the ruling group. The three groups were differentiated in terms of ethnic categories, which helped establish a system of discrimination against the Hutu as a whole.

After a brief history of Rwanda, the article argues against the classical interpretation of social and political structure by anthropology. According to the author, the classical interpretation states that Rwanda is a functioning whole that continues in time through its reinforcing institutions and vast web of reciprocities, which benefit and obligate every one of its members. However, in Rwanda’s case, society is not seen as a network of reciprocities. Power is centred in one small minority group, which demonstrates that it is not beneficial to all members of society.

Next, power in Rwanda is defined as the ability of one individual to inflict harm or deprivation on another. Power relations are seen as the basis of Rwanda’s social and political structure and the monopoly of power by the Tutsi minority is presented as the main feature of Rwanda’s society. The major form of power relationship is the Vassalage, called Ubuhake in Rwanda. This relationship strongly encouraged the exploitation of the Hutu by the Tutsi. The power relationships in Rwanda show the monopoly of power by the Tutsi, as well as the inequity in power between the Tutsi and Hutu. The revolution in Rwanda that began in 1959 has resulted in shifts for both the Hutu and Tutsi in social relations and access to economic benefits and power.

The article finishes off with an assessment of field data relating to the inequity in power relations in Rwanda. The paper displays the responses of 356 Rwandans to three questions. The responses show that social and political change exists in the minds of important groups of a society, although there is an ordering of conflicting views according to the caste social grouping of the society. Furthermore, although there is a continuity of traditional views in each social group, there is also a presence of new, anti-traditional views. In conclusion, Codere’s arguments concerning the concept of power and power relationships support an interpretation of power in regards to Rwanda’s social and political organization.


ALIES SAVAGE York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Cohen, Ronald. Power in Complex Societies in Africa. Anthropologica, 1962. 4(1): 5-8.

This article addresses the concerns of superior – subordinate relationships that exist within complex African societies, which can also be traced back to the era of colonization. By the use of the term ‘complex societies,’ Cohen, refers to societies having greater internal organizational complexities rather than societies that have existing centralized authoritative, administrative and judicial institutions. Anthropologists that seek to understand power relations within complex African societies may find it difficult due to the fact the configuration of superior – subordinate relationships within complex societies could refer to two opposing hierarchical relations. The first of the two opposing hierarchical being that these superior – subordinate relationships could refer to many different factors that construct these societies, such as kinship, government, religion and even economics. However, reference could also be made to class or caste distinctions. An understanding of the hierarchical relations within these complex societies will help in understanding the political evolution of African societies.

It is suggested that the extensive work of anthropologists at the local level that will provide the basic framework in understanding the political evolution of complex African societies. The article continues to examine the political evolution of complex societies by examining superior – subordinate relationships within these societies giving context to opposing definitions of hierarchical relationships. Cohen offers descriptions of the three different types of complex societies are suggested to further the examination of superior – subordinate relationships. The first is the indigenous African states that exist within the larger nation entity, such as the state societies of Uganda. The second is that there are societies, aboriginal or contemporary and in some cases both, where racial or ethnic groups characterize superior – subordinate relations. The racial split between Rhodesias and South Africa illustrates this type of complex society. And lastly, while incorporating aspects of the first two, high population density creates, as Cohen states, separate and special problems in urban configurations. That is why it is rather difficult to completely examine the political evolution of complex African societies without isolating and examining the loci of power that exists. However, maybe the answer to understanding superior – subordinate relations and the political evolution of Africa lies in examining its history in regards to the influence of colonialism.


THEREZE BAHADOOSINGH York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Cohen, Ronald. The Analysis of Conflict in Hierarchical Systems: An Example From Kanuri Political Organization. Anthroplogica, 1962. 4(1): 87-120.

Cohen writes of past ethnographer’s descriptive work, and their ease in assuming that in African societies an individual’s action stems from institutionalized patterns, because African Societies have been seen as unfamiliar and exotic. Cohen suggests that because of the rapid social change that is taking place in Africa attention on the varieties and interrelations of traditional institutions is being shifted towards the behaviour of persons in new situations.

Cohen states that it is essential to presume that institutionalized social structure is only one facet of social reality that determines the course of social life. This form of thinking has led to a more realistic view of social process. (This social process is that of a person who acts and reacts in relation to a number of pressures and stimuli.) In his paper he concentrates on one facet of the many stimuli’s and pressures possible and their reaction to them in the context of a hierarchical political organization. Such as the Kanuri people of Bornu province in Northern Nigeria.

Cohen Concentrates on the role of the District Head because of the vital role the District office plays in the political structure of the Emirate. Traditionally the role of the district head is that of collecting taxes, and raised militia for his superior feudal lord. Taxation was a type of tribute paid to his superiors for allowing him to hold office. He raised enough money to support himself, supporters as well as those above him in the hierarchy that ensured his security.

The activity of this political organization was chosen because of the conflicts that surface when referring to the standards governing behaviour. Cohen suggests that because the behaviour being observed is controlled institutionally by conflicting orders. Description and analysis of the rules governing behaviour will not be able to give sufficient predictive conclusions about consequential actions and what is needed is an analysis of the resultant behaviour. Cohen applies the theoretical Schema of A.G Frank (a method for the description and analysis of conflicting standards) to analyze the conflicts present in hierarchal systems in Kanuri politics.

Cohen defines Frank’s three conditions and their presence in the Bornu political organization, he later tests if the limitations that they impose on individual behaviour and the social consequences are those hypothesized by the theory or not. Cohen reintroduces hypotheses in different format that illustrates similarities in behaviours of separate hypotheses. Though it might seem as if Cohen is being repetitive this form of presentation is beneficial for the reader to fully understand Cohen’s application of Frank’s theory. Cohen presents clear definitions and is very descriptive and detailed in each argument.


XOCHITL RUBIO ISLA York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Cohen, Ronald. The Strategy of Social Evolution. Anthropologica, 1962. IV(2): 321-348.

In this article, Ronald Cohen depicts evolutionary theory as being promoted to prominence within western anthropology. This theory is used as a framework to unify the different aspects and branches of this discipline. The underlying concept of this theory is to view forms as a result of processes. The author implies that there are basically two types of definitions of this evolutionary process. The first type has been defined as inductive as this approach starts with forms arranged in temporal sequence and can yield generalizations as a way of explaining the process. F.J Teggart’s work clearly exemplified the inductive approach when he researched recurrent historical events and provided explanation for it. The second type of evolutionary process discussed in this article has been defined as deductive. A deductive outline of process produces form from the processional principle. Cohen explains that most 19th century evolutionists were deductive in their approach to the evolutionary theory. L.H Morgan, Henry Maine and others arranged their observations and experimental data in order to explain a deductive derived process of evolution.

The author summarizes that if both the inductive and deductive perspectives of evolutionary process is to be of any value to the discipline of anthropology, the problem of time scale also has to be addressed. Therefore the author classifies varying temporal magnitudes into three categories. The first category spans a time dimension of 500 years and over and is labeled large-scale. The middle-scale spans from 25 to 500 years and the small-scale runs from a few minutes to 25 years. Within these scales, studies could be deductive or inductive.

In the large-scale deductive method, Cohen acknowledges that research in this category can synthesize vast amounts of data. However, the inductive method of large-scale approach forces the research to adhere to known facts. The author points out in the deductive approach of the middle scale, that the success of this method depends entirely on having adequate historical material. He also notes that the inductive method of the middle scale has proved to be the most accurate, factually for recording case studies in the socio-cultural level. Cohen deduces that in the small-scale deductive method where the study focuses on one generation, very few deductive studies have resulted in anthropology. Whereas much of the work in social anthropology that deal with small scale changes within one generation, comes under the inductive method of the small- scale approach.

His purpose is to simplify the units of study in varying time scales to give us a better understanding of the relationship between the varying temporal magnitudes. The large-scale study deals with societies as wholes in the units of analysis and hunting. For example: the feudal system. The medium scale deals with long-term environmental trends. An example: Political Organizations. The small scale’s units of analysis deal with interacting groups and short-term trends. The examples used were communities and epidemics.

In conclusion, the question remains of whether anthropological research should be deductive or inductive. Due to anthropology relying heavily on fieldwork, he infers that the inductive method can be effective. Since Anthropologists do not have greater control over the materials being studied, the deductive method proves to be difficult.


ANUSHKA JEYANAYAGAM York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Dunning, R.W. Some Aspects of Governmental Indian Policy and Administration. Anthropologica, 1962. IV(2): 209-232.

Dunning examines the present Indian Canadian situation, points out some problems of adjustment into the Canadian society and offers possible solutions. He argues that if the aim of the Canadian government is enfranchisement of the Indians into the total population, it will not be possible if the protective “patron-client” approach does not change. The government has to stop treating Indians like children.

He backs up this argument through some statistics and an excerpt from the Indian Act, but mostly relates anecdotal evidence from his fieldwork. He relates some things he heard from the Indians, some of his conversations with the officials, and things that he observed. Dunning makes a considerable effort to present the situation objectively. He gives credit to some of the things the government has done, such as providing welfare services and education, and to its effort. Yet in his final conclusion he admits that it is up to the government to take responsibility in changing its present approach towards the Indians. He clearly states he is in favour of development and integration of the Indian people.

Dunning writes that the goal of the government with respect to the Indians was to integrate them into Canadian society. The Indian law was written up in 1876, and rewritten several times, however, it led to the Indians being treated as wards, and there was no progress towards their enfranchisement. The act designated agents responsible for specific regions in the reserves. These men were granted considerable power and were allowed to be quite flexible in their decision making. One problem that Dunning witnessed was the lack of appropriate communication between the Indians and the agent. Dunning claims that his position among the Indians created authoritativeness and remoteness. Another problem is the ready acceptance by many Indians of the governmental supervision, creating a situation that discourages economic participation and instead encourages reliance on the government. Governmentally sponsored education and welfare benefits, though directed at good cause, create permanence and dependency and do not allow for autonomy and responsibility by the Indians themselves. In his concluding section, Dunning offers some suggestions for improvement and more effective integration.


ANNA PASHIN York University (Maggie Macdonald).

Gutkind, Peter C.W. Accommodation and Conflict in an African Peri-Urban Area. Anthropologica, 1962. IV(2): 163-174.

In Gutkind’s article he realizes the conflicts that arise in heterogeneous urban Africa such as subgroups that are divided amongst urban Africans and their ethnocentric views. Gutkind also realizes that these types of conflicts hinder migration.

Urban Africa has been changing overtime culturally, politically and economically to hope for a better society. Urban Africans also have been trying to change their norms and practices. These include their tribal associations and settlements, neighborhoods, lodgings, factory and office centered associations, recreation groups, savings and friendly societies. All these changes led to a new life for urban Africa. Unfortunately during this process of change conflicts arose. In heterogeneous urban area in-groups and out-groups were developed. These divisions with the community created problems. In Mulago a parish in Africa, a group known as Ganda was the in-group. This tribal group was a heterogeneous society. According to Gutkind these urban areas include an achieved status, diffuse solidarity and have a minimal integration, stability and diversity. The Ganda society is extremely powerful and wealthy as well as dominates and mistreats the out-group, which are the non-Gandas. The non-Gandas are treated poorly because of their low status and are not the same ethnicity as the Gandas. This sub-group in urban Africa is a prime example of the problems that arose. The Ganda society created a hierarchal system where they had control over the non-Gandas and people of lower status. Such treatments include the unfair trials when disputes took place, making the non-Ganda pay unnecessary taxes as well as several people isolating themselves within the Ganda society. This unfair hierarchal system also created ethnocentrism. This is very important because ethnocentrism created subdivisions where the Gandas felt that their tradition and norms of life were better therefore, they can mistreat the out-group.

These hierarchal subdivisions in heterogeneous urban society result in conflicts between Ganda and non-Ganda. Gutkind believes that because of these subsystems and ethnocentric views Urban Africa will eventually be affected in a negative way. Therefore, people will not come together nor will people be coming to the society.


TAMI ELLIS York University (Maggie MacDonald).

McFeat, Tom F.S. Two Malecite Family Industries: A Case Study. Anthropologica, 1962. 4(2): 233-272.

The article “Two Malecite Family Industries” addresses the structure and function of two Malecite Family Industries, the Basket Making industry and the Barrel Making industry. The problem that is identified in this article pertains to the identity of the Malecite people. McFeat’s argument addresses how the identity of the Malecite people is maintained through these two specific cultural industries. The author addresses the concerns of how the ownership of property in the regions that the Malecite are situated in (Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Maine) have disturbed the industries by making the harvesting of black ash more difficult to obtain. In some cases the issue of allowing the Malecites to harvest the black ash on land owned by non-Malecites has gone so far as to result in court cases.

McFeat has focussed on the idea of the nucleus and the periphery. This concentrates on the idea of the family, specifically how the entire family participates and are necessary to make baskets, in the case of the basket making industry. It also emphasises how both industries sell and make their biggest profit selling baskets and barrels locally and individually. The periphery focuses on how the outside communities effect the business by the sale of the baskets and barrels in mass quantities, but at a 25% loss in profits.

The author’s argument is constructed through a history of the Malecite people. He gives a detailed description of both of the industries, and a through an examination of how both operate. The article answers the question of how the Malecite culture is maintained through the two industries through evidence of fieldwork done by McFeat of both a basket and a barrel maker. He also gives a breakdown of each industry, and how one industry affects the other, and how the industries function in the different regions that the Malecite live in.


LAUREN GEORGY-YANG York University (Maggie MacDonald)

Oschinsky, Lawrence. Facial Flatness and Cheekbone Morphology in Arctic Mongoloids: A Case of Morphological Taxonomy. Anthropologica, 1962. IV(2): 349-378.

There has been much speculation about race and the terms in which humans are classified. This article focuses on the implications that race has on an anthropologist’s study of race. This article concentrates on the problems that anthropologists face while trying to classify human beings in terms of evolution. The `Eskimo’ race is what this article is centred on.

In this article, Lawrence Oschinsky attempts to illustrate how the history of physical anthropology and the study of evolution (with the subspecific biological groupings of races and subraces) contribute to general anthropological dilemmas in historical reconstruction. Oschinsky starts by defining the two major schools of thought in Eskimo research. The first was founded by Boas et al who states that Eskimos originated in North America, south of the Arctic area, and moved north. Boas et al claimed that Eskimos started off in the boreal forest and moved to the temperate Arctic area. The second school was founded by Hooton et al, and claimed that Eskimos originated in Siberia and moved east to Alaska, Canada and Greenland.

Many anthropologists agree that Eskimo culture, language and genetic composition are distinctive. Oschinsky’s main argument in this article is to prove whether: a) this is true b) whether Eskimos belong to Arctic Mongoloids c) if there is a difference between Indians, Eskimos and Siberians d) the justification for the term Mongoloid and e) the evidence for the antiquity of these groups. The main question Oschinsky poses however is “is there such thing as race and subrace”? Oschinsky believes the answer is no.

Oschinsky states that most botanists and zoologists agree that there are subspecies, geographical and local races. However, physical anthropologists reject this idea. They believe that the characteristics that botanists and zoologists classify race under (skin colour, hair form prognathism, etc) are merely adaptations to a given environment. Oschinsky uses the theories of many physical anthropologists to support his argument that Eskimos are not a separate subspecies of humans; they are simply a process of adaptation to a specific environment (microevolution). He states that different `types’ of people exist because the changes in evolution are irreversible and therefore cannot be traced backwards.

Oschinsky identifies botanist and zoologist evidence of how human beings are physically different, which to them shows that human beings are classified under different subgroups. They identify Mongoloids as having completely different cheekbone morphology, mandibular morphology, facial flatness, palatine and mabdibular tori, nasal morphology, thickness of the tympanic plate, hair structure, stature, weight, odontology, etc than any other `race’. Oschinsky works with other physical anthropological theories to show how this is incorrect in terms of subspecies. Oschinsky states that it is not that these Mongoloids are genetically predisposed as different; they are merely adapted to their environment and therefore have different physical structures. For example, their nasal morphology is different because over the course of evolution, the extremely cold weather conditions forced their nasal cavities to close up so that the inside of their noses would not freeze. Also, their weight is heavier than others because of the cold conditions as well; they need extra fat to protect them from the cold. Lastly, their facial structure is different because it has adapted to the high winds.

Oschinsky concludes that although botanists and zoologists have evidence of difference among human beings, the geographical distribution of these features is more consistent than that of the blood group or anthropometry and craniometry evidence, because geographical distribution evidence is more stable.


JESSICA CARDAMONE York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Ottenerg, Simon. The Development of Local Government in a Nigerian Township. Anthropologica, 1962. 4(1): 121-162.

Simon Ottenerg’s report uses the evolution of political authority in the Abakaliki Township of southeastern Nigeria to exemplify how urbanization takes place in a tribal and underdeveloped area, as Abakaliki once was. The report focuses on the development of local government in the town, the structure and function of the town’s council and on the external influences on the council. In addition, the clash between past traditions and a new urbanized government is discussed.

Before 1946, no real government organization concerned itself with Abakaliki. The townspeople settled many of their problems amongst themselves. In 1946, the first town advisory board was created with its members consisting of townsmen elected by unions which were formed on the basis of clan or village group. The board was the first step in developing some form of government in Abakaliki. By 1960, after numerous failed councils, the Abakaliki Urban County Council was formed bringing in a reform government to Abakaliki.

The average councilor was a middle-aged male Ibo (the dominate race in Abakaliki). There was one female and few senior councilors existed. Most councilors practiced Christianity and migrated from larger cities of eastern Nigeria where schools existed and European culture had been integrated into traditional customs and beliefs.

Due to the fact that the council was a relatively new organization, government experience in councilors was low and because of this, many external government authorities had an influence on the council. For example, The Regional Ministry of Local Government had to approve the council’s budget and the hiring of their staff. The ministry also had the right to transfer councilors without the council’s permission. The increase in external influences, such as the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroon’s (N.C.N.C) became so great that few councilors themselves understood what they were a part of. External governments argued that councilors lacked training and experience.

The Abakaliki Urban County Council was created to serve the needs of the Abakaliki community through a form of authority and order. Unfortunately, Abakaliki’s past tribal traditions and practices/customs were still deeply embedded within the community and were integrated into the council. Thus, the council was never able to develop much autonomy and was regarded a “regulatory” government to external and more powerful influences such as the N.C.N.C.


YOLONDA ABRAHAMS York University (Maggie MacDonald).

Smith, Philip E. The Abbe Henri Breuil and Prehistoric Archaeology. Anthropologica, 1962. 4(2): 199-208.

Philip Smith sets out to acknowledge Abbe Henri Breuil as one of the most significant contributors to French, European and African Paleolithic archaeology. Many of his accomplishments still have an influence in the field today. Smith notes that unlike many of his colleges, Breuil employed a non-cynical approach to the study of prehistory and it was with unique characteristics such as this, which allowed him to make these achievements.

Smith indicates that many of Breuil’s most significant contributions are within the study of Paleolithic art. On more than one occasion Breuil was able to establish Paleolithic cave paintings as authentic despite the contrary conclusion of other academics within the field. He was also responsible for the creation of a classifying system for French and Spanish art styles that became the standard scheme for many scholars in the field.

Throughout his article Smith continues to recognize many of the other areas of Paleolithic archaeology that have been influenced by Breuil. Breuil played a fundamental role in the classification and dating of the Upper Paleolithic industries. He also took an interest in how prehistoric discoveries influenced social thought and helped to develop the Roman Catholic Church’s view on the origins of human beings. Lastly, Breuil’s meticulous, hands-on nature provided him with methods of accurate analysis of artifacts that has been adopted by many professional in the field today. Smith continually stresses the idea that Breuil took a unique perspective in his approach to Paleolithic archaeology. He states that it was the combination of his powerful personality and an approach weighted in the humanities, which inspired Breuil to produce his influential body of work.


KATY AITKENS York University (Maggie MacDonald).