Endenese - Sociopolitical Organization



Social Organization. The ideological unilineal descent group, waja, has no social function. There are scarcely any terms for religious/social functions in Ende. People are regarded as more or less equal to each other in their religious/social status. Some informants hint at the existence of the status of a slave ( o'o ). Yet there is no public mention of someone's being (or having been) a slave.

Political Organization. Some older people are respected because of their reputed greater knowledge of "history/ genealogy" ( susu 'embu kajo ) and play eminent roles in discussion ( mbabho ) to resolve disputes, and especially in negotiation of bride-wealth.

Social Control. There is no formal mechanism to control conflict, except for the Indonesian administrative functionaries such as kepala desa (village chiefs), who are usually coastal Endenese living beyond the social world of the mountain Endenese. Parties to a dispute come together and discuss (mbabho) the matter in question with some outside observers. Even though people seldom reach agreement, after the discussion they tend not to raise the matter again for the time being.

Conflict. Most serious conflict occurs in relation to land ownership. Whoever speaks aloud and fluently about the history (especially the history of the parcel of land in question in relation to kinship idioms such as pati weta ti'i 'ané) is regarded as a winner. But because of the lack of a formal mechanism for resolving such a conflict, the losing party raises the same matter again and again after a due interval. In effect, no Endenese community can be said to be socially harmonious—there is always some litigation going on over land in a community.


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