Spencer, Paul, 1932-. The Maasai of Matapato: a study of rituals of rebellion

Table of Contents

Publication Information

Chapter 1 The Pastoral Enterprise 1

The Two Aspects Of Matapato Pastoralism

The Stock Owner And His Possessions

Village, Local Community And Tribal Section

Conclusion: Maasai Pastoralism Over A Period Of Change


Chapter 2 Investment In Marriage

Marriage Negotiation And The Marriage Debt

The Marriage Veto

The Removal Of The Bride

The Consolidation Of Marriage

Leading The Wife With Cattle

The Wife's Allotted Herd

Conclusion: The Community And Process Of Marriage

Chapter 3 The Uncertain Gift Of Life

The Primacy Of The Unborn And The Newly Born Infant

The Vulnerability Of The Small Child And The Threat From Persons With ‘eyes’


Conclusion: The Child And The Dual Aspect Of God


Chapter 4 The Maternal Bond And The Paternal Yoke In Childhood

The Father, The Herdboy And The Wastrel

The Widow And The Guardian

The Ritual Preparation Of The Child

Conclusion: Initiation As A Form Of Rebirth


Chapter 5 Induction Into The Age System

The ‘closed’ Period Of Suspended Initiations

The Circumcision Ordeal

The Circumcision Fire

Conclusion: The Circumcision Bond


Chapter 6 The Upsurge Of Ritual Rebellion

Premature Elderhood

The Novice Moran And The Adjustment Of Family Ties

The Mounting Tension Over Privileges

The Manyata Posse (empikas)

The Posse As A Boundary Display

The Diverse Routes To Elderhood

Age-sets, And Right-hand And Left-hand Age-groups

Conclusion: Rebellion And Taboo


Chapter 7 The Manyata As A Republic

The Role Of The Firestick Patrons In Establishing The Manyata

The Manyata Spokesman

The Manyata Village And The Elders' Village Areas

Uninitiated Girls And Their Protectors

The Lion Hunt And The Manyata Benefactor

Conclusion: The Manyata As A Platonic Ideal


Chapter 8 Anger, Constraint And The Ideology Of Moranhood

The Expression Of Anger

The Manyata And The Forest Camps

The Fantasy Of The Diehards

Warrior Prowess And Sexual Virtue

Conclusion: A Durkheimian Model Of Matapato Stereotypes


Chapter 9 Eunoto

Sacrifice And ‘passing Through The Ox’

Prelude To The Matapato Eunoto Of 1977

Eunoto: Phase I. The Deputation To The Prophet

Phase Ii. The Convergence Of The Manyat For Eunoto

Phase Iii. Migration To The Eunoto Site

Phase Iv. Setting Up The Ritual Leader's Village

Phase V. The Eunoto Sacrifice

Phase Vi. The Migration To The Village Of Enkarrer

Disbanding The Manyata Villages

Conclusion: Interpreting Eunoto


Chapter 10 The Transition To Elderhood And Relations Through Women

Moran And Marriage

Age Fellowship And Relaxing Milk Avoidances

Adultery And Relaxing Meat Avoidances

Olngesher: The Festival Uniting The Age-set

The Implication Of Daughters For The Domestication Of The Moran

The Ambivalence Of Hospitality And Wife-sharing Within An Age-set

The Transformation Of Avoidances In Elderhood

Conclusion: The Avoidance Of Daughters And The System Of Alliance


Chapter 11 The Women's Collective Response

Submission To Violence

The Women's Fertility Gathering

Rituals Of Rebellion And Of Protest Among Women

The Women's Mobbing And The Abuse Of Their Fertility

Conclusion: Women As Custodians Of The Moral Order


Chapter 12 Age Bonds And Ritual Power In Elderhood

The Age-set Posse In Elderhood

The Ritual Delegation And The Posse

The Firestick Patrons And The Claim To ‘rule’

Sorcery And The Curse

The Women's Festival And The Power Of The Elders' Curse

Conclusion: Sorcery And The Two Domains Of Elderhood


Chapter 13 Elderhood And The Paternal Yoke

The Father's Control Over His Son's Marriage

The Father's Control Over His Son Through Stock

Loss Of Responsibility And The Incongruity Of Old Age

Death And The ‘father's Chest’

The Agnatic Group And The Rules Of Inheritance

The Dispersal Of Brothers

Conclusion: The Hypothesis Of The Wastrel And The Complex Of Family Relations


Chapter 14 The Meat Feast

The Feast Of The Great Ox (loolbaa)

Principles Of Allocating Meat

(a) The Balance Of Supply With Demand

(b) The Hierarchy Of Taste

(c) Dual Oppositions Between Cuts

(d) The Upper And Lower Innards

(e) The Broad Back, The Soft Underside, And The Significance Of Fats

Conclusion: The Circle Of The Feast


Chapter 15 Conclusion: Rituals Of Rebellion And The Trusteeship Of Maasai Culture

The Freudian Model And The Generation Of The Pact Among Peers

The Platonic Model And The Degeneration Of The Pact In Elderhood


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: The Maasai of Matapato: a study of rituals of rebellion

Published By: Original publisher Bloomington, Ind.: Indiana University Press. 1988. [xiv], [297] p. ill., map

By line: Author's name as appearing in the actual publication Paul Spencer

HRAF Publication Information: New Haven, Conn.: Human Relations Area Files, 1996. Computer File

Culture: Culture name from the Outline of World Cultures (OWC) with the alphanumberic OWC identifier in parenthesis. Maasai (FL12)

Subjects: Document-level OCM identifiers given by the anthropology subject indexers at HRAF Pastoral activities (233); Settlement patterns (361); Age stratification (561); Family relationships (593); Military organization (701); Organized ceremonial (796);

Abstract: Brief abstract written by HRAF anthropologists who have done the subject indexing for the document This work focuses on the dynamics of the age grade system of the Maasai of Matapato, Kenya. The age grade system provides the central institution for political action in the society. Much of the emphasis in this study is on the [n]moran[/n] (warrior) age-set and the process through which the Maasai establish their warrior villages ([n]manyat[/n], s. [n]manyata[/]). These villages are established through a ritualized form of rebellion directed by the [i]moran[/i] against their fathers. According to Spencer, this is the '…first stage of an extended rite of transition separating them from the villages ruled by the elders and culminating years later when they are themselves incorporated into elderhood' (p. 5). A description of this process occupies the major portion of this monograph. This study also contains data on the pastoralism of the Maasai, marriage, childhood, the [n]eunoto[/n] festival, the status of women, puberty and initiation rites, and family relationships.

Document Number: HRAF's in-house numbering system derived from the processing order of documents 20

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. fl12-020

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. 279-281) and indexes

Field Date: The date the researcher conducted the fieldwork or archival research that produced the document July 1976-September 1977

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. John Beierle ; 1994

Coverage Date: The date or dates that the information in the document pertains to (often not the same as the field date). 1976-1977

Coverage Place: Location of the research culture or tradition (often a smaller unit such as a band, community, or archaeological site) Matapato tribal section, Meto, Kajiado county, Kenya

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


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