Social Organization. The Fulani are many different people. Among those who term themselves "Fulani" are former slaves and members of castes or guilds, such as blacksmiths or bards. It is important to note that the Fulani hold that belonging to society itself is dependent on the will of the individual.
Political Organization. Fulani tend to be the ruling caste among Islamic communities in the northern areas of West Africa. They control the various northern emirates in what was Northern Nigeria, for example. They also play a major role in the modern governments of many West African states.
Among the Cattle Fulani, a leader (ardo) of a territorial group has a major role. Patrilineages play an important part in regulating day-to-day matters and in controlling cattle. They also govern marriages and widow inheritance.
Conflict. Kinship and regional groups regulate conflict within and between groups. The Fulani often come into conflict with settled populations among which they pass. Alliances with Town Fulani help resolve a number of disputes between Fulani and their neighbors. The Fulani are quick to resort to combat in the defense of their interest but also have a reputation for waiting for the opportune moment to seek revenge if the situation demands patience.