Leach, Edmund Ronald. Political systems of highland Burma: a study of Kachin social structure

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Part I The Problem And Its Setting

Chapter I Introduction

Social Structure

Unit Societies

Model Systems



Social Structure And Culture

Chapter Ii The Ecological Background Of Kachin Society

Chapter Iii The Categories Shan And Kachin And Their Subdivisions



Part Ii The Structure Of Kachin Gumsa Society

Chapter Iv Hpalang—an Unstable Kachin Gumsa Community 1

The Mayu-dama System In Hpalang

The Story Of The Hpalang Feud

Chapter V The Structural Categories Of Kachin Gumsa Society

I Introduction

Ii Concepts Of Territorial Division

( A ) Nta —‘a House’ ( B ) Htingnu —‘a Chief's House’

Mare Or Mareng —‘a Village Cluster’

Mung —‘a Domain Or Tract’, ‘a Township’ (cf. Shan Möng, Burmese Myo )

Iii Concepts Concerning Aggregates Of Persons

Htinggaw —‘family’, ‘extended Family’

Amyu, Lakung, Dap, Htinggaw —‘a Lineage’, ‘a Clan’

Bu Ni —‘villagers’

Iv Concepts Of Affinal Relationship And Incest

Mayu-dama —‘affinal Relationship’

V Concepts Of Property And Ownership

Sut —‘wealth’

Land Tenure

Vi Concepts Of Rank And Class

Vii Concepts Of The Supernatural

Nat —‘a Spirit’, ‘a Supernatural Being’

Ga Nat —‘earth Spirit’

Mu Nat —‘sky Spirit’

Gumgun Nat, Masha Nat —‘ancestor Nats’

Uma Nat

Jahtung, Sawn, Lasa —‘evil Spirits, Spooks’

Maraw —‘luck’

Hpyi —‘witch Spirits’. 109

Viii Concepts Of Authority: Political And Religious Office

Duwa —‘chief’

Nwawt —‘diviner’; Myihtoi —‘medium’

Part Iii Structural Variability

Chapter Vi Gumlao And Gumsa

Chapter Vii Gumsa And Shan

Marriage Of Kachin Chief To Shan Princess In Token Of Political Overlordship Of The Shan (or Burmese)

Marriage Of Shan Aristocrat To Kachin Girl Of Aristocratic Status

Chapter Viii The Evidence From Kachin History

Physical Environment

Political Environment

The Human Element

Chapter Ix Myth As A Justification For Faction And Social Change

Chapter X Conclusion

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Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information


Title: Political systems of highland Burma: a study of Kachin social structure

Published By: Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1954. xii, 324 p.: ill., maps

By line: E. R. Leach ; With a foreward by Raymond Firth

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2012. Computer File

Culture: Kachin (AP06)

Subjects: Community structure (621); Form and rules of government (642); Cultural participation (184); Water supply (312); Tillage (241); Topography and geology (133); Ethnic stratification (563); Behavior toward non-relatives (609); Land use (311); Territorial hierarchy (631); Cereal agriculture (243); Ethnosociology (829); Territorial hierarchy (631); Status, role, and prestige (554); Form and rules of government (642); Production and supply (433); Linguistic identification (197); Settlement patterns (361); Classes (565); Functional and adaptational interpretations (182);

Abstract: This book is concerned with the Kachin and Shan population of North-East Burma. By the author's admission, the ethnographic information is neither detailed nor new, but rather serves as a vehicle for demonstrating what Leach describes as an oscillation between one Kachin 'republican' political system (gumlao) and the Shan 'aristocratic' system. In this description, the native concepts of territorial division, kinship, ownership, the supernatural and authority are discussed. The Appendices are documents offered in support of Leach's 'oscillation' theory. In view of this treatment of the ethnographic data, it is essential that the reader familiarize himself with category 121, before use of other categories is attempted. Chapter IV, i.e., pp. 63ff, is marked with the unnumbered subheading 'Hpalang', in order to delineate the continuity of the categories used. The author did field work among the peoples about whom he writes. He also served in the Burma Army from 1940-45, much of which time was spent in Northern Burma. Dr. Leach did his academic work in the University of London.

Document Number: 26

Document ID: ap06-026

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Field Date: 1939-1940

Evaluation: Ethnologist-5

Analyst: W. Carr ; 1956

Coverage Date: 1930-1954

Coverage Place: Kachin State, Burma

LCSH: Kachin (Asian people)//Ethnology--Burma


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