Fortes, Meyer. The dynamics of clanship among the Tallensi: being the first part of an analysis of the social structure of a Trans-Volta tribe

Table of Contents

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Chapter I Introductory

The Natural Environment Of The Tallensi

Cultural Affinities Of The Tallensi

General Characteristics Of The Tallensi

British Rule And Contact With Western Civilization

Chapter Ii The Meaning Of ‘tallensi’

Tribal Divisions

Cultural Segmentation Of The Tallensi

The ‘real Talis’

Nomenclature And The Structural Scheme

Myths Of Origin

The Major Cleavage In Tale Society

Chapter Iii Paradigm Of The Lineage System

Chapter Iv Clanship: The Namoos

The Dispersion Of Mosuor Biis

The Chain Of Sub-clans

The Critical Norms Of Clanship

Mosuor Biis: A Maximal Lineage

The Lineage Principle In The Structure Of The Clan

The Internal Differentiation Of The Clan: (a) Sie

The Internal Differentiation Of The Clan: (b) Tongo And The Status Of Accessory Lineages

The Nexus Of Clanship Ties

The Field Of Clanship

Chapter V The Distribution Of The Namoos

The Distinctive Ritual Observances Of The Namoos

Significance Of The Totemic Taboos Of The Namoos

Other Namoo Clans

The Meaning Of ‘namoo’

Chapter Vi The Structural Relations Of The Talis

A General Point

The Clan Structure Of Zubiuŋ

Ritual Differentiation And Integration Of Zubiuŋ

Linked Maximal Lineages And The Field Of Clanship

The Gradation Of Clanship Ties

The Pattern Of Clanship Among The Talis

The Mesh Of Clanship Among The Talis

Quasi-clanship: Joking Partnership

Privileged Moral Coercion

The Rationalization Of Clanship Ties

Chapter Vii Clanship And Ritual Collaboration

The Significance Of Sacrificing Together

Ritual Relations In Namoo Clans

Ritual Collaboration Among The Talis: The External B(ɔ)□ar And The Earth

The Underlying Principles Of Ritual Collaboration

The Scheme Of Ritual Collaboration Among The Hill Talis

The Network Of Ritual Ties Between Talis Clans

Native Thought And The Realities Of Social Structure

The Network Of Structural Ties Among The G(ɔ)risi And In The Sie District

Chapter Viii Totemism Among The Talis And Other Non-namoos

The Unity Of All The Talis

Funeral Customs As Criteria Of Social Alinement Among Talis Clans

Totemic Avoidances And Clanship Ties

Totemic Myths

The Totemic Avoidances Of The Talis As A Reflex Of The Social Structure

Totemic Taboos And The Patrilineal Principle

Totems, Clanship, And External B(ɔ)□ar

The Significance Of Animals As Totems

Taboos Of The Earth

Functional Differentiation And Its Symbolism

Chapter Ix The Place Of Women In The Clan Organization

The Concept Of A Clanswoman

Institutionalized Recognition Of A Clanswoman's Status

Chapter X The Social Structure Of A Settlement


Types Of Settlement And Distribution Of Population

The Stability And Continuity Of A Settlement

Topographical Distinctions And The Natives' Knowledge Of Natural History

Settlement Boundaries

The Concept Of The T□ŋ

The Section—yizug

The Sections Of Tongo

Territorial Distribution And The T□ŋ In Its Mystical Aspect

Chapter Xi Land, Locality, And The Earth

Definition Of The Bonds Between People And The Land

Farm-land And Subsistence

Productive Efficiency And The Bounds Set By Nature

Striving After Security: The Ritual Background

The Social Framework Of Production: Land Tenure

The Integration Of The Community: Chiefship And T□ndaanaship

The T□ndaana's T□ŋ

Chapter Xii The Lineage In The Local Community

General Features

Analysis Of A Lineage From Within

The Principle Of Segmentation In The Lineage

Lineage Grouping And Local Grouping

The Concept Of The Lineage Home

The Influence Of Lineage Localization In The Social Life

The Section

Segmentation And Equilibrium In The Sub-clan

The Local Embodiment Of The Ritual Focus Of The Sub-clan

Structure Of The Clan Settlement Among Non-namoos

Structure Of Peripheral Settlements

Seniority And Authority In The Lineage

Chapter Xiii The Form Of Tale Society

The Socio-geographic Region

Re-examination Of The Major Cleavage: Warfare

Equilibrium And Solidarity Within The Clan And Lineage

Modern Factors Of Disequilibrium

A. British Rule

B. Pecuniary Competition Among The Hill Talis

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Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information


Title: The dynamics of clanship among the Tallensi: being the first part of an analysis of the social structure of a Trans-Volta tribe

Published By: London: Oxford University Press for the International African Institute, 1945. xx, 270 p., 16 plates: ill., maps

By line: Meyer Fortes

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2010. Computer File

Culture: Tallensi (FE11)

Subjects: Clans (614); Kin relationships (602); Rule of descent (611); Lineages (613); Avoidance and taboo (784); Spirits and gods (776); Lineages (613); Cult of the dead (769); Sacred objects and places (778); Mythology (773); Ethos (181); Community structure (621); Community heads (622); Gender status (562); Settlement patterns (361); Real property (423);

Abstract: This source is devoted to a structural analysis of the clanship and lineage relationships among the Tallensi. It deals with the constitution and interrelations of the corporate groupings found in Tallensi society. He develops the idea that the tendency towards equilibrium is marked in every sector of Tallensi society and in the society as a whole, this tendency being a result of the dominance of the lineage principle in the social structure. He spends some time relating the economy and religion to the lineage system within the structure of the society. The interpenetrations of kinship with these aspects of the structure are left for a second volume. Material culture is touched upon only incidentally. Fortes received his doctorate in psychology from the University of London in 1930, studying subsequently under Radcliffe-Brown and Malinowski. He is currently William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge.

Document Number: 2

Document ID: fe11-002

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Field Date: 1934-1937 ; 1943

Evaluation: Ethnologist-5

Analyst: Timothy J. O'Leary ; 1957

Coverage Date: 1934-1945

Coverage Place: Tongo village, Ghana

LCSH: Tallensi (African people)


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