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Dissertation / thesis Dissertation / thesis Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Changing generations: dynamics of generation and age-sets in Southeastern Sudan (Toposa) and Northwestern Kenya (Turkana)
Author:Müller, Harald K.ISNI
Series:Spektrum, Berliner Reihe zu Gesellschaft, Wirtschaft und Politik in Entwicklungsländern $ Berlin series on society, economy and politics in developing countries (ISSN 0176-277X)
City of publisher:Saarbrücken
Geographic terms:Sudan
dissertations (form)
Abstract:This study contributes material on the generation-set systems of the Toposa (southern Sudan) and the Turkana (Kenya), including field data collected by the author in 1982-1983 and 1986. Descriptive and theoretical literature dealing with generation and age-set systems often tends to place too much weight on the concept of age, while underestimating the generational aspect - P.H. Gulliver's description of the Turkana system is a typical example. At the same time, the aspect of generation gives rise to confusion in the relevant literature, apparently as a result of the overlap in age between generations (the extent of which has, until now, always been a subject for speculation). The author examines the demographic composition of consecutive generations by means of a computerized simulation model. The results help clarify what we are talking about when dealing with 'generation-sets' and indicate that generation-set systems are rather stable from a demographic viewpoint. Using examples from the Toposa and Turkana, the author also indicates the dynamic character of generation-set systems. When generation-set systems are considered not so much as static institutions, and when 'chaos' and change in the system are seen not as a distortion of a stable state but as its normal dynamic mode of operation, then some of the confusion which still besets the analysis of these systems will disappear. A description of the changes in the Toposa and Turkana generation-set systems indicates why these systems change (because of conflict or stress, internal or external to the society), and how.