Collection Description

Culture Name


Culture Description

The Shluh belong to the Masmuda branch of sedentary Berbers inhabiting the Grand-Atlas and Anti-Atlas Mountains and the Sous River Valley in southern Morocco. They are primarily agricultural, utilizing plow cultivation, irrigation, and the terracing of fields. Animal husbandry is second in importance. Kin groups of 10 to 50 families are headed by the eldest male member and form clan-barrios occupying either a small hamlet or a specific quarter in a larger village. A larger social unit called a MUDA is the basic land-owning and political unit and is governed by a democratic assembly.


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Africa --Northern Africa



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Collection Overview

The Shluh collection consists of six documents, three are translations from the French, and three are in English. 1: Berque and 2: Montagne are the major works in the collection supplemented by the more recent data presented in 5: Hatt. 1: Berque is a lengthy monograph concentrating on the Seksawa, but bringing in comparative data from other groups in Morocco and North Africa. Although its focus is on the inter-relationships between law and religion, this work also includes much information on geography and environment. 2: Montagne deals with the history and political evolution of the Shluh, dealing in turn with the Sous region, with the political organization of the Berber republics, and with the rise to personal power of individual chiefs. 3: Dupas is a short description of the community storehouses in use among the Shluh. 4: Hoffman contains general information on the structure of traditional society, ecology, and economy.

In 1993, two additional documents were added to the collection, 5: Hatt and 6: HRAF. 5: Hatt updates the existing material on the Shluh through 1971. This work, a dissertation, deals with the Idaw Tanan confederation of the Shluh, and contains a wealth of information on economy, subsistence patterns, social structure, and social relationships. Of particular interest in this last aspect is the relationship between landowning tribesmen and the hereditary "saints" or MARABOUTS. 6: HRAF is an ethnographic bibliography on the Shluh.

The culture summary and synopsis were prepared by John Beierle in March 1993.

AGADIR -- fortified storehouse -- categories 343, 712

AGURRAM (IGWRRAMEN) -- marabouts; holy men celebrated for their learning -- category 792

AMAZZAL -- water administrators -- category 624

AMGHAR (sheikh) -- president of a district or tribal council -- category 634, 619, and sometimes 693

ANNEZZARFOU -- an arbiter with a great knowledge of local law -- category 692

'AR -- a conditional curse for the purpose of compelling somebody to grant a request (associated with the seeking of asylum or sanctuary)-- categories 571, 754

AYTARBA'IN -- category 625

CADI -- judge of Koranic or canonical law -- category 693

CAID -- great chief -- category 631

Canton (TAQBILT) -- district (canton in the French and Spanish literature is equivalent to district; used by Shluh for both district and tribe; used by Coon and Hart in the Rif material for a major lineage or commune -- category 634

CASBAH -- fortress (usually made by a great chief or CAID) -- category 712

confederation -- a joining together of 20-30 tribes into a political unit -- category 631

DIWAN (INFLAS) -- district councils -- category 634

fraction (IFASSEN) -- a political unit composed of approximately 10 villages - - category 634

FUQAHA (AFQIR) -- old man; a legal scholar -- category 693

IFASSEN (pl. AFUS) -- a division of a tribe into smaller territorial units, usually equivalent to "fractions" in administrative terminology -- category 634

IKHS -- lineage -- category 613

IMZRAN -- investigator, inspector -- category 692

JEMAA -- a democratic assembly at the community, district and tribal levels -- categories 623, 634, 619

KHOMS -- a name for a tribal division; a "fifth" -- category 619

LEF(F) -- a moiety-like (or pseudo-moiety) aggregation of districts -- category 616

MARABOUT -- holy men celebrated for their learning -- category 792

MARABOUTIC brotherhoods -- categories 795, 792

MAXZAN -- the central government -- category 657

MOQADDEM -- president of a council -- categories 622, 623, 634 (depending on the author's description of the role)

MOUDA (MUDA) -- "sous-fraction"; a locality; a hamlet, ward or commune (depending on the author's orientation); a landowning unit and a basic political unit; also a collection of minor lineages to form a larger group -- categories 621, 632, 634

'O MAL -- a council of notables who see to the functioning, maintenance and security of the AGADIRS -- category 571

rural communes -- categories 632, 634 (depending on context)

"saints" (patron) -- category 792 (possibly 776 at times)

SIBA -- a revolt of the population -- category 669

SOFF -- an alliance of families -- category 571

subfraction -- a union of 3-4 villages together -- category 632

TADCHERT -- hamlet or village -- category 621

TALEB -- public scribe -- category 212 (also possible 794, 875)

TIGHREMT -- fortified houses -- categories 342, 712

TIMECHERET -- category 474

tribe -- a union of 3-10 fractions -- category 619

village-congregations -- categories 621, 623, 794 (depending on context)

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