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Atuot ethnicity: an aspect of Nilotic ethnology

  • John W. Burton


Evans-Pritchard's assessment of what contemporary social anthropologists might call ‘contextual ethnicity’ has offered many with no first-hand research experience in this region of Africa a prerogative in which some apparently revel: to opine on the bizarre and the obvious. Examples of the former persuasion are typified by articles which, with a passion for ‘theoretical purity’, openly declare an indifference to ethnographic fact (Newcomer 1972). Others attempt to account for the present distribution of pastoral Nilotes in the Southern Sudan as though ‘tribal’ groups and their tract of migration possessed the physical properties of pool balls pelleted across the swampland of the Upper Nile Basin (e.g. Southall 1976). Some must surely have had moment to wonder if the Nuer really exist at all. Of course they do, as even the uninterested tourist could note by observing the ethnic composition of labour groups in Khartoum, but only because so do the Dinka, who live north, south and west of Nuerland.



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Atuot ethnicity: an aspect of Nilotic ethnology

  • John W. Burton


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