Hill Pandaram - Sociopolitical Organization

Social Organization. Organized as a foraging community, living in small camp aggregates of two to three families scattered over a wide area, the Hill Pandaram exhibit no wider structures of sociopolitical organization. There are no ritual congregations, microcastes, nor any other communal associations or corporate groupings above the level of the conjugal family. A lack of wider formal organization is coupled with a pervasive stress on egalitarianism, self-sufficiency, and the autonomy of the individual. Some individuals in the settlements are recognized as muttukani (headmen) but their role is not institutionalized, for they are essentially a part of the system of control introduced by administrative agencies of the Forestry and Welfare Departments to facilitate efficient communication with the community.

Social Control. The Hill Pandaram have no formal institutions for the settlement of disputes, though individual men and women often act as informal mediators or conciliators. Social control is maintained to an important degree by a value system that puts a premium on the avoidance of aggression and conflict; like other foragers, the Hill Pandaram tend to avoid conflict by separation and by flight.

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