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The Nuer - Study Guide.doc

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Donna Young

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Study Guide for E.E. Evans-Pritchard The Nuer 1. What were the colonial conditions when E-P began his study of the Nuer? - What was the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium Government of the Sudan? - What were the consequences of their policy of divide and rule in the Sudan? - Who asked E-P to complete a study of the Nuer? Why? - Why were the Nuer hostile to the British? - What forms of violence are a direct consequence of colonial policies? 2. In evaluating an ethnography, you should begin with three questions: - How did the ethnographer gain access to the community? - How did/do the political arrangements mark the relationship between observer/observed? - What theoretical concerns motivate the study? - How do these three questions relate to E-P’s study of the Nuer. 3. What is cultural Translation? - What did E-P mean when he spoke of a Bovine idiom of speech? - Why did E-P argue the goal of anthropology should be interpretation rather than functionalist explanation? - What did E-P mean when he said anthropologists were “doubly alienated?” And how might that lead to forms of objectivity, or ironic awareness? 4. The Nuer - How did the ecology influence Nuer social patterns? - How do the Nuer measure time? - Lineages have a tendency to segment. Explain. - What is a feud, and why are they significant? How do they differ from wars? How are they resoved? - How does marriage build political alliances? - What was the relevance of aristocratic clans to tribal political structures? - Examine the structural links between the following sentiments: i. The enemy of my enemy is a friend? ii. Me against my brother, my brother and me against the world? iii. Home is where the cattle are? - Why did British colonialists find tribal societies hard to govern? - What are the features of tribal political structures? (PAGE 122) - What is a Leopard Skin chief? - What is a prophet? A prophet movement? - What is structural functionalism? Structural Functionalism • What EP is looking at is not what is needed for survival of humans as a being, but rather what are the constitutional parts of a society and how does that particular society reproduce itself. • Looking at the relationship between institutions, such as: kinship, religion, economy, etc. and how these work to produce what he would think of as a cultural whole • Each layer of this book and the way the pieces come together becomes more and more complex as the book goes on. Measurement of Structural Time • According to event that are significant to the group • Relative to structural space and are locally considered • There are usually 6 to 7 age sets in a community at one time according to EP. In other words, events mark time and they have a certain position is a social structure. The people with the older memories, the more authority you have (esp. men) o Ex: first age set – keeping village area clean • Historical time o The big things that have happened during our generation.  Ex: 911 for us  There social and historical memories work about the same  The oldest living members memories is the social memory of the entire group; social memory is therefore dictated by the living  Cannot go back through historical m
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