The Social Organisation of the Lo Wiili: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Social Organisation of the Lo Wiili

1st Edition

By Jack Goody


142 pages

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Originally published in 1967 (second edition) presents an account of the life and social organisation of the Lo Wiili of the Haute Volta and Ghana. Chapters on the geographic and ethnographic background and economic system are followed by a detailed analysis of Lo Wiili social organisation which in its broad outlines is typical of the general area. Of particular theoretical interest, however, is the co-existence in the one society of both patriclans and matriclans and the way in which the Lo Wiili see themselves not as a boundary-maintaining group ('tribe') but define themselves by cultural criteria which are relative to the group with which they are being compared. The study is also concerned with the traditional role of the Earth Shrine in maintaining social control, a widespread feature of West African societies.

Table of Contents

1. The Commandant 2. Colonial Society 3. The Native Territories 4. Native Policy 5. The Chiefs 6. Law and Custom 7. The Sphere of the Divine 8. The Peasant Community 9. The African World

About the Author

Sir John Rankine Goody, FBA (27 July 1919 - 16 July 2015) was a British social anthropologist. He was a prominent lecturer at Cambridge University, and was William Wyse Professor of Social Anthropology from 1973 to 1984.

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