SOAS Research Online

A Free Database of the Latest Research by SOAS Academics and PhD Students

[skip to content]

Yorke, M. P. (1976) Decisions and analogy : Political structure and discourse among the Ho tribals of India. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

[img] PDF - Submitted Version
Download (23MB)


This thesis is an analysis of the political structure of the Austroasiatic Mundari speaking Ho tribals of the Chotanagpur Plateau in southern Bihar, India. Fieldwork was carried out in the Kolhan Government Estate of Singbhum District between September 1972 and January 1974. It is a village study backed up by a general survey of the area. The thesis falls into two parts, a structural-functionalist analysis of the political organisation of one village and its political environment and a case study of the discourse involved in one particular dispute settlement. The concern in the first part is to understand the structure of a Ho village. The composite sections of the community and their interrelations are analysed to bring out the structural principles of descent and land tenure. The relationship of local level politics to the wider political environment is outlined in terms of a structure of double encapsulation by parallel systems of civil administration, instituted respectively by the pre-independence colonialist powers and the post-independence government of national unity. The process of village government is analysed with particu ar reference to the role and function of the village council meeting and its officials as the locus of community based authority. Emphasis is laid on the apparent structural distinction between public and private arenas of governmental activity. The second part of the thesis is a detailed analysis of the transcript of one public dispute settlement in terms of the discursive tactics employed in the decision making process. Decision making and council procedure is analysed with a stress on the role of language as a political medium. The interrelationship of consensual procedures and tactics to polemic and oratorical style is outlined with particular emphasis on the role of analogy in effecting decision making. The theoretical insights that this provides are then considered. How does linguistic analogy relate to the local level political structure and to the wider political environment?

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:06

Altmetric Data


Download activity - last 12 monthsShow export options
Downloads since deposit
6 month trend
6 month trend
Accesses by country - last 12 monthsShow export options
Accesses by referrer - last 12 monthsShow export options

Repository staff only

Edit Item Edit Item