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Van Der Meeren, Antoine (1969) The social system of the Banyarwanda. MPhil thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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This thesis presents an analysis of the conflict which arose between two groups of people in Rwanda, before it achieved independence from colonial rule in 1962. I have set out to demonstrate that the conflict cannot be understood unless it is seen in relation to the traditional Rwanda social system and the impact of colonial influence on the traditional principles of social organisation. The analysis demonstrates why violent conflict erupted between two major groups of people at that particular moment rather than unifying them in a common attempt to reach independence. It further demonstrates why these two groups aligned themselves in ethnic terms. I have firstly made a functional analysis of traditional Rwanda society as it was operative at the moment it became subject to western colonial rule. Although Rwanda is essentially a social and political unit, I have developed the considerable intracultural and regional variations of an ecological, demographic, political, socio-economic and religious nature to be found within Rwanda. The analysis shows how these variations are reflected in the different social institutions of Rwanda society. The functional analysis demonstrates the existence of elements of competition and conflict in Rwanda society despite a highly complex but centralised political structure. However in the traditional system processes and mechanisms for containing conflict were provided through institutions making for cohesion in different ways. Secondly, I have made a diachronic analysis of the impact of new pressures, during the period of colonial rule, on the principles of social organisation, especially in the political and socio-economic fields. Lastly, I have analysed the ultimate conflict situation and correlated the form it took with the effect of these new pressures on the traditional system.

Item Type: Theses (MPhil)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:14

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