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The authority of ancestors: a sociological reconsideration of Fortes's Tallensi in response to Fortes's critics

Calhoun, Craig (1980) The authority of ancestors: a sociological reconsideration of Fortes's Tallensi in response to Fortes's critics. Man, 15 (2). pp. 304-319. ISSN 0025-1496

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Abstract

Fortes's account of ancestor worship and kinship among the Tallensi has recently been subjected to a variety of criticisms. Most of these have stemmed at least in part from misunderstanding of Fortes. More fundamentally, many have tended to stress cultural categories and terminology to the exclusion of sociological analysis. They have reduced the authority of ancestors to a static set of norms or a seemingly random collection of ritual observances. Some have even suggested that the distinctions between living and dead, agnatic and non-agnatic ancestors, are matters of indifference. The present article challenges these interpretations with a reconsideration of Fortes's material in which the authority of ancestors is treated sociologically and seen to be the key to the working of the Tale Kinship system.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: http://www.wiley.com/bw/journal.asp?ref=1359-0987&...
Additional Information: © 1980 Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
Library of Congress subject classification: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Sets: Research centres and groups > Director's Management Team
Rights: http://www.lse.ac.uk/library/usingTheLibrary/academicSupport/OA/depositYourResearch.aspx
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2012 15:07
URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/42424/

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