Ottenberg, Simon. Leadership and authority in an African society: the Afikpo village-group

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Part I The Village

Chapter I The Setting

Organizational Features

Patrilineal Groupings

Matrilineal Groupings

Family Groupings


History, Class, And Authority

Chapter Ii Form And History

Physical Features


Chapter Iii Age Mates

The Emergence Of Male Age Sets

Age-set Organization And Activities

Age-set Segments


Chapter Iv Elders And Youths

Formation Of The Executive Age Grade

Functions Of The Executive Age Grade

The Young Elders

Organization Of The Elders' Grade

Activities Of The Elders' Grade

Female Age Groupings

Chapter V The Secret Society


Ritual Leaders

The Titled Group

Public Ceremonies

Chapter Vi The Wards

Ward Structure

The Ward Executive Grade

Ward Elders

Ward Activities

Variation In Village Organization

Chapter Vii Interpretation

Structures And Principles

Variation In Village Size

Internal Conflict

Authority And Religion

Part Ii The Village-group

Chapter Viii Common Identities

Ritual Specialists And Ceremonial Activities

The Yam Priests

The Rain Controller

Oath Shrines

Medical-religious Specialists

Aro Agents

Other Ritual Specialists

The Cycle Of Feasts


Chapter Ix The Age-grade Organization

Subgrade Characteristics

The Senior Subgrade

The Middle Subgrade

The Junior Subgrade

The Female Elders


Chapter X Judges And Courts

The Special Courts

Nontraditional Courts

Chapter Xi The Authority Of The Elders

Welfare, Custom, And Change

The Politics Of Factionalism

External Relations


Chapter Xii Conclusions

Structural Considerations

The Organizational Hierarchy


Publication Information

Paragraph Subjects (OCM)

Publication Information The main body of the Publication Information page contains all the metadata that HRAF holds for that document.

Author: Author's name as listed in Library of Congress records

Title: Leadership and authority in an African society: the Afikpo village-group

Published By: Original publisher Seattle: University of Washington Press. [1971]. xviii, 336 p., plates ill., maps

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication Simon Ottenberg

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 2003. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Igbo (FF26)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Identification (101); Age stratification (561); Lineages (613); Community structure (621); Inter-community relations (628); Magicians and diviners (791); Trial procedure (695); Judicial authority (692); Legal and judicial personnel (693); Sodalities (575); Gender status (562);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This source contains a lucid and lengthy description and analysis of the social structure of the Afikpo village-group. The author builds his discussion from the smallest units (lineages, age sets, and secret societies) on out to larger units including the village and village-group. While there is information on the activities of all these groups, the focus is always on their structure, their place in the local authority structure, their leadership structure, and the process of decision-making within small groups. One of the major conclusions of this study is that, although the Afikpo village-group is organizationally complex in terms of the number of groups to which any person belongs, '…the complexities are reducible to a number of fundamental features, based on descent, age, and sexual distinctiveness, which interpenetrate each type of organization, and to a limited number of types of generalized leadership roles.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 12

Document ID: HRAF's unique document identifier. The first part is the OWC identifier and the second part is the document number in three digits. ff26-012

Document Type: May include journal articles, essays, collections of essays, monographs or chapters/parts of monographs. Monograph

Language: Language that the document is written in English

Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 323-328)

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document 1951-1953, 1959-1960, 1966

Evaluation: In this alphanumeric code, the first part designates the type of person writing the document, e.g. Ethnographer, Missionary, Archaeologist, Folklorist, Linguist, Indigene, and so on. The second part is a ranking done by HRAF anthropologists based on the strength of the source material on a scale of 1 to 5, as follows: 1 - poor; 2 - fair; 3 - good, useful data, but not uniformly excellent; 4 - excellent secondary data; 5 - excellent primary data Ethnologist-5

Analyst: The HRAF anthropologist who subject indexed the document and prepared other materials for the eHRAF culture/tradition collection. Eleanor C. Swanson ; 1980-1981

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). esp. 1952-1960

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Afikpo village-group, southeastern Nigeria

LCSH: Library of Congress Subject Headings Igbo (African people)


Copy and paste a formatted citation or use one of the links below to export the citation to your chosen bibliographic manager.

Export a Citation