Daribi - Sociopolitical Organization



Social Organization. Collective activities, meetings and arbitration, work groups, and warfare and vengeance undertakings have in the past served as active foci for lineal, factional, and coresidential groupings. Often, but not necessarily, such task groupings coincide with the clan or even a coresidential clustering of clans. Before the institution of centralized administrative control, cooperative parties of men organized themselves in this way to clear large tracts of land for gardening or for military action. Influential men, often the eldest of a group of brothers, take the initiative in planning and supervising collective tasks, more through the exhorting of others than actual direction. Kin relationship is often the strongest or most consistent single factor in the galvanizing of these activities, though it is by no means the only one.

Political Organization. A coresidential grouping of the dimensions of a clan or village predictably divides, at any given time, into two opposed factions, roughly along the lines of kin affiliation or affinity. The men of a faction are the hana, followers and supporters of a big-man or significant leader ( genuaibidi ). Such leaders would often bid for the patronage of younger men by transferring betrothals to them or by feeding them with the surplus meals received each day from their pluralities of wives.

Social Control. Body-substance sorcery ( animarli ) and secret murder through sorcery assassination ( keberebidi ) were often resorted to for vengeance; perhaps the threat of these actions helped to ensure social compliance. Certainly the most effective instrument of social control is "talk," that is, public approval and disapproval, an organ of consensual enforcement that has been amplified by the village-court system.

Conflict. Bouts of hysterical public anger, often escalating into factional confrontations, mark the stresses and strains of ordinary village life. If aggravated over a long period they may lead to residential splitting along factional lines. "Third parties," either leaders or adjacent groups, will often try to mediate these fights. Traditional warfare took the form of ambushes, skirmishes along boundaries, sieges, and occasional massacres by organized groupings of clans acting in concert.

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