Ideas and Procedures in African Customary Law: Studies Presented and Discussed at the Eighth International African Seminar at the Haile Sellassie I University, Addis Ababa, January 1966, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Ideas and Procedures in African Customary Law

Studies Presented and Discussed at the Eighth International African Seminar at the Haile Sellassie I University, Addis Ababa, January 1966, 1st Edition

Edited by Max Gluckman


374 pages

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The 18 papers in this volume, originally published in 1969 in English and French, with summaries in the other language, define and analyze in their wider social contexts the fundamental ideas and procedures to be found in African traditional systems of law. They assess the needs and problems of adaptation to changing conditions. The comprehensive introduction by Allott, Epsteina nd Gluckman provides a framework of analysis. It deals with the search for a common terminology in which to analyse and compare the different systems of customary law proceedings and evidence, codification and recording, reason and the occult, the conception of legal personality, succcession and inheritance, land rights, marriage and affiliation, injuries, liability and responsibility.

Table of Contents

Introduction. Part 1: Problems of Research Part 2: Procedures Part 3: Conceptions in the Substantive Law Special Studies 1. L'Analyse des Espèces juridiques et L'Étude des Droits coutumiers africains J. Poirier 2. The Structure of African Judicial Authority and Problems of Evidence and Proof in Tditional Courts N. A. Ollennu 3. Whiter Lay Justice in Africa? S. S. Richardson 4. Procedural Informality, Reconciliation, and False Comparisons J. van Velsen 5. Guilt and Innocence; Problem and Method in the Gurage Judicial System William A. Shack 6. La première Codification africaine: Madagascar 1828-81 H. Deschamps 7. Legal Personality in African Law A. N. Allott 8. Sesotho Marriage, Guardianship, and the Customary-Law Heir A. M. R. Ramolefe 9. Idda and Secondary Marriage among the Northern Kadara M. G. Smith 10. Legitimation of Children in Customary Law in Kinshasa J. M. Pauwels 11. Réflexions sur L'Existence du Concept de Propriété immobilère individuelle dans les Droits africains traditionnels J. Vanderlinden 12. Property Rights and Status in African Traditional Law M. Gluckman 13. The Breakdown of Traditional Land Tenure in Northern Nigeria C. M. McDowell 14. Status, Responsibility and Liability: A Comparative Study of Two Types of Society in Uganda P. J. Nkambo Mugerwa 15. Injury and Liability in African Customary Law in Zambia A. L. Epstein 16. The Customary Law of Wrongs and Injuries in Malawi J. O. Ibik 17. Contract in Tswana Law I. Schapera 18. Customary Contracts and Transactions in Kenya Y. P. Ghai

About the Editor

Herman Max Gluckman was a South African and British social anthropologist. He is best known as the founder of the Manchester School of anthropology.

About the Series

African Ethnographic Studies of the 20th Century

Routledge is delighted to be re-issuing 79 volumes originally published between 1931 and 1988 in association with the International African Institute. Unavailable outside a few key libraries, many of these republished volumes were at the cutting edge of a fieldwork and ethnographic revolution in African anthropology in the decades after 1930. It involved the production of a wide body of fieldwork-based ethnographic documentation about the cultures of the different societies in Africa. Secondly, it saw a methodological turn to intense, localized investigations of cultural tradition and social change in a rapidly modernizing context. These investigations involved a more sustained and systematic, more professional and ‘scientific’ form of immersion and participant observation, than anything that had gone before. The sites of engagement were urban as well as rural; the pioneering researchers were female as well as male. No longer was the journal essay the repository of the latest research in the discipline, but rich ethnographies running into hundreds of pages.

The volumes are supplemented with maps, which will be available to view on or available as pdfs from the publishers.


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies