Hutchinson, Sharon Elaine, 1952-. Nuer dilemmas: coping with money, war, and the state

Table of Contents

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Testimony 1: The Flight Of Gatcaar Biliu

Testimony 2: The River Escape Of Riäk Kai

Testimony 3: The Struggles Of Nyakɔaη Puoh

1 Orientations

The Experience Of Fieldwork

On Becoming Human In Nuer Eyes: Methods Of Information Gathering

2 Blood, Cattle, And Cash: The Commodification Of Nuer Values

On The Oneness Of Cattle And People: 1930

The Creation Of Cattle And Labor Markets In Nuerland: 1930–83

The Circulation Of Blood, Cattle, And Money: 1930–83

Second Formulation: The Cattle Of Money And The Cattle Of Girls


3 Guns, Warfare, And The State: New Contexts Of Power, Violence, And Leadership

The Impact Of The Government And Guns On Regional Patterns Of Warfare

The Development Of The Gun Trade And Of The “government Of The Left,” 1900–56

The Central And Western Nuer

The Development Of Government Chiefs And Courts

New Procedures For The Resolution Of Homicide Cases Instituted During The Colonial Era

The Impact Of The First Civil War On Regional Patterns Of Feuding And Fighting

Spla Initiatives: The Administration Of The Western Upper Nile, 1985–90

The Nonmilitary Significance Of Guns Among The Eastern Jikany Nuer, 1980–90


4 Cattle Over Blood: The Changing Symbolism Of Gender, Marriage, And Filiation

The Social Circulation Of Blood And Food: General Principles

Blood, Cattle, And Food: A Paradigm Of Gender Relations

Cattle Over Blood: A Reconsideration Of The Cattle/human Equation

Cattle Links: The Father-child Relation

Blood-links: The Mother-child Relation

Blood-links: Initiation And Mastery Of The Self

Childbirth: Weakness And Femininity

Food-links: Women As Mediators

Cattle Over Blood: A Paradigm In Peril

Courtship: Becoming Lovers

Paternity, Legitimacy, And Adultery


From Wife-takers To Wife-givers

Blood Over Cattle


5 “incest Is Blood And The Cow”: Struggles Over The Control Of Reproduction

A Historical Puzzle: Sex And The Cross-cousin

The Contracting Scope Of Kinship Ties: East/west Regional Variations

The Challenge Of The Younger Generation: Fertility Testing

Are Incest Prohibitions Rooted In Human Blood Or In The Cow?

The Gatn□r/gatwac Relationship

Contemporary Patterns Of Bridewealth Distribution: Regional Variations


6 The Emergence Of Bull-boys: Political Leadership, Legitimacy, And Male Initiation

The Election Of An Executive Chief Among The Eastern Jikany Nuer: 1981

Chiefs And Politicians

The Symbolism Of Paper

Regional Variations In Contemporary Nuer Attitudes Toward Bull-boys

The Social Definition Of Bull-boys

Recent Spla Challenges To Initiation

7 “cattle Aren't Killed For Nothing”: Christianity, Conversion, And The Enduring Importance Of Prophets

Blood And Food: The Cultural Division Of The Cow

Changing Interpretations Of Illness And Death: The Impact Of Western Biomedicines And Christian Conversion

Regional Variations In The Impact Of Christianity: 1980–90

The Eastern Jikany Nuer

The Western Nuer

Cattle And The Transcendence Of Death: A Case From Western Nuerland

Feelings Of Powerlessness Created Upon Conversion

A Mother's Act Of Desperation

The Cattle Of Divinity And The Cattle Of Guests

The Evolution Of Christian Doctrines In The East: 1990–93

The Enduring Importance Of Indigenous Prophets: The Case Of Wutnyang Gatakεk

Future Prospects: Christianity, Islam, And Prophets


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Publication Information


Title: Nuer dilemmas: coping with money, war, and the state

Published By: Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996. xvii, 408 p.: ill., maps

By line: Sharon E. Hutchinson

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2002. Computer File

Culture: Nuer (FJ22)

Subjects: Age stratification (561); Marriage (580); Informal in-group justice (627); Warfare (726); Ethnoanatomy (826); Ecclesiastical organization (790);

Abstract: This is a remarkable account and analysis of the changes that have occurred in Nuerland in the colonial (1929-1955) and postcolonial period (1955-present). War, state, trade, money, wage labor, and Christianity have all had an impact on Nuer life and culture, and challenged the central role cattle have played in it. Traditionally cattle were a medium of exchange, constituting the bulk of both bridewealth and blood money. Also, the control of cattle was the basis of age and gender hierarchies. However, in recent years, guns and cash have become competing mediums of exchange. Hutchinson shows how Nuer reconcile old and new forms of value, and how this has affected filiation, marriage patterns, gender relations, and age hierarchies. Her analysis of Nuer gender relations based on complimentary notions of the blood of humans and cattle is especially good. She also recounts the awful toll Sudan's civil war (1955-1972, 1983-present) on the Nuer.

Document Number: 18

Document ID: fj22-018

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 363-381) and index

Field Date: 1980-1992

Evaluation: Ethnologist-4,5

Analyst: Ian Skoggard ; 2000

Coverage Date: 1900-1992

Coverage Place: southern Sudan

LCSH: Nuer (African people)


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