Lloyd, Peter Cutt. The Yoruba of Nigeria

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Publication Information

Author:

Title: The Yoruba of Nigeria

Published in: Peoples of Africa, edited by James L. Gibbs, Jr.

Published By: Peoples of Africa, edited by James L. Gibbs, Jr. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1965. 549-582 p.

By line: Peter C. Lloyd

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2009. Computer File

Culture: Yoruba (FF62)

Subjects: Ethos (181); Settlement patterns (361); Cities (633); Urban and rural life (369); External relations (648); Ethnosociology (829); Traditional history (173); Mythology (773); Cultural participation (184); Form and rules of government (642); Chief executive (643); Territorial hierarchy (631); Regulation of marriage (582); Polygamy (595); Clans (614); ;

Abstract: This summary article on the Yoruba was written by a British social anthropologist especially for this volume. The author's descriptions are authentic and reliable, deriving as they do from a decade of primary field research among the Yoruba. Due to its recency and comprehensiveness, this document should be read as a general introduction prior to consulting other specific material in the Yoruba file. While the author's framework is structural-functional, his analytical statements on the change and continuity in sociopolitical forms do not detract from the excellence of the ethnographic survey. Much of the recent economic dominance and political power of the Yoruba derive from maintaining patterns of wide market commerce. Historical evidence points to phases of empire formation and collapse, to the stage where Yoruba society now consists of a set of independent hereditary kingdoms--with considerable structural variability among them. But the administrative hierarchy of all is on some form of territorial-kinship basis, with the king and his council ultimately controlling the political and economic operations of lesser regional or district chiefs--common geneology or religion legitimating the state. Unifying the Yoruba now, in view of much rapid sociopolitical and economic change, is a sense of national Yoruba identity in language, culture, and myth. Some distinctive features of the society which the author stresses are: the extreme degree of traditional nonindustrial urbanization (possibly on a city-state pattern) and an urban settlement pattern combining both aristocratic noble elite and agrarian lower class peasantry; the anomalous economic and social status of women in their roles within the family and in the market; and the stabilizing of conflicts within the power structure, and principles of royal succession.

Document Number: 43

Document ID: ff62-043

Document Type: Essay

Language: English

Field Date: 1949-1959

Evaluation: Social Anthropologist-5

Analyst: Gilbert Winer ; 1967

Coverage Date: 1800-1960

Coverage Place: Nigeria

LCSH: Yoruba (African people)

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