A RECONSIDERATION OF THE BASIS OF GROUP COHESION AMONG THE MURLE OF THE SOUTHERN SUDAN (LINEAGE THEORY, SOCIAL STRUCTURE, PASTORALISTS)
The Murle are a pastoral people living in Southern Sudan. This dissertation reconsiders the basic units of social structure found among one section of Murle living in the vicinity of Pibor Post in 1982. The basis of sociopolitical cohesion among the Murle has been analyzed within the context of a segmentary lineage system, as has that of their Nilotic neighbors, the Nuer. This study argues that this model has been incorrectly applied to the Murle in that it misrepresents the way that the Murle themselves perceive their own social system in abstract terms. Murle social structure is built on the need to establish korok, House, viability in the face of seasonal variability and recurrent environmental disaster. The korok is best defined as the herd-managing group, rather than as an incipient lineage or minimal lineage segment. It is an unnamed, ephemeral, three-generational residential unit living under the moral authority of the eldest brother of the senior living generation. The core is recruited through an agnatic principle and supported by a rule of patrilocal residence. Although agnation is an important principle throughout the wider social system, it is not the fundamental organizing rule. Rather, the presence or absence of ties based on rights in cattle serves as the key criterion separating, in the Murle world view, two fundamentally different types of social relationships: those based on a currently shared set of rights and obligations to animals in each other's herds, and those which do not involve rights to cattle. This study focuses on varying aspects of korok existence, examining, in turn, domestic relationships within the korok, the basic divisions of labor both within and outside the korok, and the ecological and political context of korok life. A brief description of the social structure of the agricultural Merle residing in the Boma foothills is also offered for comparative purposes. Social structural differences between Pibor and Boma societies reflect the adaptation of social institutions to different ecological niches, and can be seen as variations on a single theme reflecting the range of options open to individual Murle within the total system.
ANDRETTA, ELIZABETH HAIN, "A RECONSIDERATION OF THE BASIS OF GROUP COHESION AMONG THE MURLE OF THE SOUTHERN SUDAN (LINEAGE THEORY, SOCIAL STRUCTURE, PASTORALISTS)" (1985). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8523392.