Tangu - Sociopolitical Organization



Social Organization. Traditionally, local communities were comprised of two exogamous intermarrying groups called gagawa. Households would establish exchange relationships with other households in the opposite group. Ideally, these exchange relationships would continue through time as parents transmitted them to their children. Today, Exchange relationships are still of major importance. Through marriage and formal friendships, individuals in different Communities are also linked. Thus Tangu society is integrated through mutual relationships between individuals and Between families.

Political Organization. Tangu have no chiefs. Instead, groups of households tend to be held together by wunika ruma, dynamic and hardworking big-men, who have no specific authority but lead by example and through respect gained in production and oratory.

Social Control. Social control within the group is maintained largely through the institution of br'ngun'guni: debating, talking, and disputing in public assembly. Matters of public concern are brought up and discussed on frequent occasions, and the weight of public opinion is usually enough to make people conform to collective norms of behavior.

Conflict. Conflict within the group often arises out of competition for status. Grievances may relate to competing claims on fishing, hunting and gardening resources, kinship matters, exchange obligations, or allegations of sorcery or trespass. Traditionally, when grievances arose between people whose groups were not sufficiently close to engage in br'ngun'guni, feuds and warfare generally resulted. Warfare with outsiders, such as the Diawat people, who were trying to expand their territory at the expense of the Tangu, was also common.

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