Aranda - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. The major sources of social difierentiation are sex and age. Outside of this there is very little specialization, although some individuals might be recognized as being more skillful than others in certain respects, such as traditional healing, and thus would be accorded more prestige. There is a strong egalitarian ethic, with an emphasis on Individual autonomy relative to sex and age. Some kindred groups can become more powerful or expand at the expense of others over time. Racial and ethnic differences can sometimes be very important in the organization of social life in the wider context.

Political Organization. Insofar as the Aranda have been and are politically autonomous, they are governed by elder men and to a lesser or less public extent by elder women. This authority tends to be land-based. Territories are first of all agnatically defined, although one can inherit rights in them through women. An elder's jurisdiction relates to ritual property belonging to the places in which he has acquired rights and to younger relatives who might handle that property. Male initiation was and still is an important disciplinary procedure in which elder men over many years exercise power and influence over younger men. Initiation is also the Channel by which juniors may themselves become respected elders. Political organization as a whole is coextensive with the Organization of kinship and marriage, with territorial groupings or dialect groups (or "tribes") being more or less synonymous with local alliance areas. This system now meshes with local and federal government systems in the Australian state.

Social Control. Learning to behave correctly is largely a matter of kinship obligations and these are learned throughout a person's lifetime. In early childhood one learns an ethic of generosity and compassion for one's fellows, which leads to a generalized sense of family identity. As a person grows older, he or she learns that certain relationships should be marked by respect or shame and that he or she has different responsibilities. Many infringements of law, usually to do with ritual property or marriage and access to women, are solved by mobility and asylum, but there are also different types of violent punishment (which have historically included the death penalty, the spearing of limbs, and rape).

Conflict. Conflict usually arises over sexual relations and access to ritual property, land, and locally generated wealth. It may manifest itself in sorcery accusations and violent feuding or "payback" killings. In many areas, particularly where populations are relatively dense, conflict has increased, partly because of the indiscriminate placing together of different Tribal peoples and partly because of access to alcohol.

Also read article about Aranda from Wikipedia

User Contributions:

Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: