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Bujra, Janet M. (1968) An anthropological study of political action in a Bajuni village in Kenya. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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The main theme of this thesis is a sociological analysis of a process of political conflict in a village community. The village - Tundwa - has a population of just over a thousand persons and is situated on an island lying just off the north Kenya coast, near the border with Somalia. It is a village where political factionalism is an important element in social life. My aim in this thesis has been to show that conflicts between the factions were an expression of underlying social and economic causes and that the recruitment of support for the factions was based on the pre-existing structure of linkages in the community. The focal material of this thesis is therefore contained in Chapter VIII where I describe in detail the series of connected 'social dramas' or crisis situations which punctuated the development of factional conflicts in Tundwa in 1965.;The first part of the thesis is devoted to an analysis of the three most important aspects of Tundwa's social organisation - economic organisation, kinship and social stratification. Each of these aspects of social organisation creates a contextual framework for social action, and each of them is influential in determining the alliances of people in political crises. These frameworks do not always coincide however and so one has situations where people have a conflict of loyalties - perhaps between their loyalties to kin as opposed to their economic interests, or perhaps between their economic interests and their social status. In the second part of the thesis I concentrate exclusively on the politics of Tundwa. First I describe the relationship between the people and the Central government. The character of this relationship provides a further dimension to our understanding of political action. In Chapter VIII and the Conclusion I show that by looking at factionalism in dynamic sociological terms we can understand its basic underlying causes.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2018 15:27

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