Kaiingas - Sociopolitical Organization



Social Organization. Most sociopolitical decisions are made by elderly men who command respect through their prestigious deeds. In the past such prestige was gained in headhunting but today arises mainly from men's ability as public speakers. Kalingas act as autonomous individuals, and households exercise a great deal of autonomy. Even children enjoy much independence in their decision making, and it is rare that anyone directly orders anyone else to do anything.

Political Organization. Political structure is based on the residential settlement and the deme. These larger units are organized in the same way as among most other mountain groups in Southeast Asia, and the most common word used in the anthropological literature to described this type of organization is "loose." Whatever decisions need to be made on a village or regional basis are arrived at through discussion and consensus. Although each deme is a politically and socially sovereign entity and each can make treaties with others governing trade, conflicts, and territorial boundaries, the household and, indeed, individuals, are largely autonomous. Naturally, modern governmental units established in Manila have come to act as a template over the traditional processes, but recent experiences of the Kalingas with the Philippine government have not been happy ones and these "foreign" political mechanisms are not easily accepted.

Social Control. Disputes are usually resolved by discussion among kindreds. Severe infractions of customary law may resuit in a hearing at an informal gathering presided over by village or regional elders. In consultation with competing kindreds these elders may levy fines. In recent disputes some have tried to use the Philippine court system to gain legal title to land, but the public reaction against them has been strong.


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