Gluckman, Max. 1955. "The Peace in the Feud." (R031) (Bareiss Bakoss)


by RB

  • 306.7 Conflict, an inevitable element of social life, can foster social cohesion
  • 307.3 Social cohesion formed through conflicts and allegiances between individuals
  • 307.8 Nuer must converge with other groups during dry season, therefore need a system of cooperation
  • 308.6 Because of need to interact w/other groups, Nuer form closest bonds with groups in closest proximity
  • 308.8 Tribes form clans in conflict, which tribes are fighting depends on genealogy of clan they are fighting against
  • 309.3 Rules of conflict differ for inner and outer tribe fights. Generally do not kill tribe member even in clan conflict.
  • 309.8 Nuer have rules of right and wrong, but unlike our society no set group to enforce them and dictate conflict management
  • 310.6 Not all agnatic groups live in close proximity, thus conflict may arise when local community and agnates oppose
  • 310.9 Nuer practice exogamy, out-group marriage, yet agnatic loyalties come before loyalties to wife's family
  • 311.7 Still, exogamy and common residences foster social cohesion and order through networks of agnates and marriage
  • 312.1 Arbitrators, "men of the earth" are often called upon to settle disputes; no coercive power, but mystical/ritual power
  • 313.3 "at every point each man is pulled into relations with different men as allies or enemies according to context"
  • 314.2 Pressure for peace stems from obligations to community and individual dependence on relationships w/others
  • Societies w/o government, regulate behaviors through traditional codes of morals and ritual.



Max Gluckman (1911–1975) was a South African and British social anthropologist, founder of the "Manchester School" of social anthropology, whose work combined structural functional approach with critique and conflict.

Leading Questions

1.What is agnatic kinship?

2. What part of the world are the Nuer from?

3. At 309.3 Gluckman contrasts what goes on at large scale and what goes on a local scale among Nuer. Elaborate.

4.Important point about social order and social control at 309.5: "Often, difficulties in dispute arise not over what is the appropriate rule in a dispute, but over how the rules apply in particular circumstances." Comments?

5. Three "dimensions" of social space come into play here — groups, networks, territory (earth). Comments?

6. With sufficient levels of conflict of loyalties, settlement and social order are maintained (313.2). Explain

7. Imagine an essay question which asked you to compare and contrast the cross-cutting alliances leads to stability claims of Gellner and Gluckman with the multiple group memberships claim made by Tocqueville. Where might you go with such an assignment?


See also