Van Velsen, J.. The politics of kinship: a study in social manipulation among the lakeside Tonga of Nyasaland

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Chapter I Introduction

The Problem And Fieldwork Method





British Administration

Chapter Ii The Village

General Description

Genealogical Composition

Chapter Iii Kinship And Locality

Matrilineal Descent

Immigration And ‘foreign’ Relationships

Case 1: Nyali Fetches A Successor From Deep Bay

Untitled Section: ...

Marriage And Inter-village Cohesion

Local Association And Kinship Bonds

Case 2: Kambawe Called From His Patrilocality 1

Untitled Section: ...

Struggle For Dependants

Case 3: Conflicts At Chinyafwa


Chapter Iv Marriage

Formal Marriage: Go-between And Attorney

Marital Debts: Tangible Basis Of Relationships

Case 4: Lovemore's Abducted Wife

Untitled Section: ...

Adultery And Informal Marriage

Case 5: Retaliatory Adulteries 2

Case 6: The Father Who Ate The Bridewealth 1

Untitled Section: ...

Location Of The Marriage

Virilocal Marriage: A Focus Of Inter-village Relationships

Divorce: Perpetuation Of Marital Links And Debts

Death Of Husband: Position Of Widows

Wife's Death: Review Of Marital Debt

Case 7: Death Of Informal Wife

Differences Between Formal And Informal Marriages

Marital Debts As A Basis For Political Disputes

Cross-cousin Marriage

Cross-cousins And Bridewealth

Case 8: A Cross-cousin Marriage Without Bridewealth

Ranking Among Cross-cousins

Intra-village Marriage

Marital And Cross-cousin Relationships In Action

Case 9: Meya's Death


Chapter V Status Within The Village

Village Owners

The Dominant Lineage

Case 10: The Ndazakale-ziba Strife

Owners And Succession

Case 11: Adultery And Succession At Mzenga 1

The Chequered Histories Of Titles

Case 12: Kamisa Succession

Legitimists And Usurpers

Subsidiary Titles

Case 13: The History Of Makalamba 1

Acquisition Of Leadership

Acting Headman: Divisible Character Of Headmanship

The Book As An Attribute Of The Traditional Headman

Case 14: The Struggle For Chasole's Book

Untitled Section: ...

Case 15: The Wancha-mteperera Rivalry

Sons Of The Village

Reasons For Patrilocal Residence

Village Owners And Village Sons

Case 16: The Theoretical Kinship Argument 2

The Position And Role Of Village Sons

The Successor And His Predecessor's Children

Case 17: A Headman And His Predecessor's Children

Case 18: Father, Son And Headman

Sons As Acting Headmen

Hereditary Titles And Administrative Offices

Case 19: Councillor And Headman

Hereditability Of Administrative Offices


Characteristics Of Slave Status

Case 20: The Slave Husband

Social Isolation Of Slaves

Role Of Slaves In The Village

Chapter Vi Village And Headman

The Hamlet


‘owners Of The Land’

Land Rights Of Individuals And Villages

Definition Of Rights In Land

The Village: Its Identity

The Village As A Loose Confederation Of Hamlets

Inter-village Groupings

Village Headmen: Past And Present Sources Of Power

Traditional Symbols Of Political Prestige And Their Present Significance

Village Headmen And Jurisdiction

Chapter Vii Conclusions

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information


Title: The politics of kinship: a study in social manipulation among the lakeside Tonga of Nyasaland

Published By: Manchester [Eng.] ; New York: Published on behalf of The Rhodes-Livingston Institute (University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland) by the Manchester University Press ; and in the U.S.A. by Humanities Press, Inc., 1964. xxix, 338 p.: ill., maps

By line: by J. van Velsen

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 2001. Computer File

Culture: Lakeshore Tonga (FR07)

Subjects: Borrowing and lending (426); Status, role, and prestige (554); Regulation of marriage (582); Mode of marriage (583); Residence (591); Kin relationships (602); Lineages (613); Community structure (621); Community heads (622); Inter-community relations (628);

Abstract: A superb ethnography on Lakeshore Tonga kinship and politics, which employs a situational analysis approach. The study shows how leaders to the extent possible attract followers and augment or maintain power by manipulating lineage and affinal connections, bridewealth debt, cross-cousin marriage, access to land and marital residence. Van Velsen analysizes several case studies, including ‘Meya’s Death,’ expertly accounting for the different behavior of individuals and groups.

Document Number: 1

Document ID: fr07-001

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 327-330)

Field Date: 1952-1955

Evaluation: Ethnographer-4,5

Analyst: Ian Skoggard;1999

Coverage Date: 1930-1952

Coverage Place: Nkhata Bay District, Northern Province, Malawi

LCSH: Ethnology--Malawi


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