The Mugwe: A Failing Prophet, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Mugwe

A Failing Prophet, 1st Edition

By B. Bernardi


232 pages

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Paperback: 9781138489240
pub: 2020-05-01
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Originally published in 1959 this volume studies the ritual office of the Mugwe which was of great social significance among the Meru of the Central Province of Kenya and analyses the social changes and decline of the Mugwe which came about in the second half of the twentieth century. Until this book was published there was no published literature on the Mugwe - one of the most basic and firmly established elements of the old structure of Meru social life.

Table of Contents

1. The Meru

2. Visiting the Agwe

3. Mythological Origins of the Ugwe

4. 'Born to be Mugwe'

5. The Power of the Mugwe

6. The Position of Mugwe in the Social Structure

7. The Failing Prophet

About the Author

B. Bernardi

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