Cohen, Ronald. The structure of Kanuri society

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Untitled Section: ...



Diagrams And Charts


Part 1 The Setting And Its Background

Chapter I The Setting

Chapter Ii Ancient Roots To 1900

Chapter Iii The Colonial Period

Part 2 Interpersonal Relations

Chapter Iv Kinship And Interpersonal Relations

Kinship Terminology (1)

Behaviour Norms

Shame (nungu)

Respect (birzum)

Joking Relationships (suli)

Friendship And Fondness Relations (numkam)

Residence Patterns

Maximal Lineages And Clans

Appendix To Chapter Iv

Chapter V Marriage Relations

1. Age Differences

2. Number Of Marriages

3. Length Of Marriage

4. Status Of Wife’s Family

5. Personality Factors

6. Socio-economic Status Of The Husband

Untitled Section: ...

Chapter Vi The Life Cycle


The Naming






Old Age


Part 3 The Wider Scaled Structures

Chapter Vii Social Stratification

The Dimensions Of Stratification




Class As Status And Socio-cultural Segmentation

Success And Stratification

Chapter Viii Political Organization

The Hamlet And The Ward

The Village Area

The District Organization

The N. A. Officials In The District

The D.h.’s Relations To The Center

The Organization At The Center

Political Parties

Chapter Ix The Economic Life


Craft Production

Ka’anami, The Calabash Maker

Untitled Section: ...

Mala Bukar, The Butcher




Entertainments, Ceremonies, Cosmetics And Stimulants

Operating Expenses



The Organization Of Trade

(a) Momadu Mandama (momadu, The Salt Seller)

(b) Bukar, Tada Njima Of Mala Yaro (bukar, The “son Of The House” Of Mala Yaro.

(c) Ajimi Gworoma (ajima The Kola-nut Seller)

(d) Alkali Bukar


Chapter X Summary And Conclusions

Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information


Title: The structure of Kanuri society

Published By: Ann Arbor, Michigan: University Microfilms, 1960. xvi, 361 leaves: ill., map

By line: By Ronald Cohen

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: HRAF, 1998. Computer File

Culture: Kanuri (MS14)

Subjects: History (175); Kinship terminology (601); Kin relationships (602); Family relationships (593); Household (592); Mode of marriage (583); Ethnic stratification (563); Occupational specialization (463); Accumulation of wealth (556);

Abstract: This is Cohen's Ph.D. dissertation in anthropology submitted to the University of Wisconsin. It contains a good, detailed analysis of Kanuri social organization focusing on the sociopolitical system. Cohen shows how the patterning of interpersonal relations at the kinship-marriage-family-household level carries over into the wider-scaled structures of economic and political organization, and social stratification. The basic objective of this study is to provide a description and explanation of trends of social change, conceptualized in terms of stability and instability in the social system. The major hypothesis generated through this analysis is that the stability of the Kanuri social system is based on the processes whereby 'the society is cross linked by class and status on the one hand which bring together people of similar goals, rank, class and wealth; and on the other hand, by feudal chains of superior/subordinate relations that link up individuals into a vertical system of loyalties so that a man's ties are both with his class and with his superiors' (p.353). Thus any weakening or disruption of these cross linkages would result in instability and further social change. This interpretation is said to be in line with Gluckman's theoretical position as set forth in his CUSTOM AND CONFLICT IN AFRICA (1955). Certain categories of data are explicitly omitted by the author as irrelevant to his analysis. Among these is religion; yet it does seem strange that in a Muslim society various ritual roles, groups, and categories would not be integrally involved in the system of sociopolitical relations. Cohen, accompanied by his wife, did most of his field work in the village of Magumeri (population ca. 2,000), and in the surrounding hamlets of the Magumeri village area. He also made a number of trips to the larger village of Geidam in the north, where another anthropologist, Abraham Rosman, and his wife were working. Finally, Cohen and his wife lived for the last three months of their research in Maiduguri, the capital of Bornu Emirate. After the first four months, according to Cohen, most of his research was conducted in the Kanuri language.

Document Number: 3

Document ID: ms14-003

Document Type: Monograph

Language: English

Note: UM 60-986. Thesis (Ph.D.) -- University of Wisconsin, 1960 Includes bibliographical references (p. 356-360) Cohen's concept of the 'extended household organization' has been indexed for category 621 since it denotes a unit composed of more than one household (in OCM terms), and thus may be viewed as a local subdivision of a community

Field Date: 1956-1957

Evaluation: Social Anthropologist-4, 5

Analyst: Robert O. Lagacé ; Sigrid Khera ; 1969-1970

Coverage Date: 1956-1957

Coverage Place: Magumeri, Borno State, Nigeria

LCSH: Kanuri (African people)


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