Nauru - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Nauruan society used to have three status groups: the Temonibe, the Amengename, and the Itsio. The first two were landholding groups, while the Itsio consisted of those who sought the protection of a Temonibe. Membership in the first two groups was by birth. The Temonibe were very highly respected and usually owned more land. They took on leadership in war or in large economic undertakings, but they were not chiefs. Today these three status groups are no longer significant.

Political Organization. The modern Republic of Nauru has an elected parliament of eighteen members, headed by a president. The councillors are elected from each district, as are members of the parliament. District chiefs were an innovation of European administration in 1927, and they gained significance when the Nauru Local Government Council (NLGC) was formed in 1951. Nowadays the NLGC controls most internal affairs.

Social Control and Conflict. Informal control is still maintained within Nauruan families, but formal control is in the hands of the Nauru police force and the judiciary, which consists of a supreme court, a chief justice (based in Melbourne, Australia), and district and family courts.

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