The Gurage: A People of the Ensete Culture, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Gurage

A People of the Ensete Culture, 1st Edition

By William A. Shack


242 pages

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Originally published in 1966 this study gives a detailed account of all aspects of Gurage life. An introductory chapter on South-West Ethiopia and the history of the area is followed by descriptions of Gurage settlements, ensete (banana-like plants) cultivation, kinship and marriage, the political system and religious organization. The author's fieldwork and discussions with many resident and migrant Gurage in Addis Ababa enabled him to provide a valuable account of a hitherto little known people and ethnographic area.

Table of Contents

1. Introductory

2. Ecology and Communications

3. Land, Labour and Ensete

4. Kinship, Local Organization, Family and Marriage

5. The Political System: Clanship and Ritual

6. Religious Organization.


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