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The origin of age-set/generational social buildings

Been doing a little studying into Ethiopian ethnicities and cultures and found the “gadaa” system of the Oromo. Primarily it’s the structuring of society to right into a continually renewing male age-set social class system that progresses from (to crudely put it) in a boyhood-adolescence-warrior-elder cycle. There’s extra units than those I’ve acknowledged (I believe 10) and every is mostly 8 years in vary.

The next sources focus on the methods and a few focus on their origin:


The second supply discusses technology set methods and their traits. Programs the place society is structured into generations, which might find yourself having children and outdated males lumped into the identical set, will be troublesome. It will probably thus be inferred that there appears to be a developmental ‘pattern’ in direction of what the author calls “true” age set methods in society’s the place such methods of societal group happens. Or at the least, they is perhaps higher long run.

My query can be what causes the event of such methods within the first place? Are they co-existent with ‘regular’ materials standing buildings? What are the socio-historical components influencing the creation of such methods?

Comments ( 5 )

  1. Fascinating rabbit hole you’ve pointed out here, buddy… if you need me I’ll be reading up on this for the next week thx

  2. Might be good to look at a variety of anthropological sources. Of course there are many theories on such things so it depends on what school of thought you look into or subscribe to.

    It’s been a good long while since I’ve taken anthropology myself so I don’t have specifics, but some other factors that can come into play here:

    – Who can provide resources for themselves/the community and who is unable to do so?
    – What skills do people know and/or need to know, and how well are they able to use these skills?
    – Can they impart knowledge even if they are unable to perform as they used to (especially in the case of elders or those forced to retire due to injury)?
    – You mention boys/men here, but it might be good to look at girls/women too because often there is a correlation if there are gender roles involved.
    – In fact, would be good to look at other cultural systems present since no cultural practice exists in a vacuum. They affect and are affect by plenty of other things to varying degrees.

  3. Polemic.

    The ubiquitous nature of this boyhood-adolescent-warrior-elder trope reminds me of religion in that it is a structure created by humans to serve a need, but, is ultimately a human made construct which is rather arbitrary at the end of the day. By this I mean we tend to find a concept/structure which we find useful and imbue it w meaning. Overtime, the fact that it has been found meaningful becomes more meaningful than the initial purpose it served. It is good to have structure as it represents something standing against the chaotic, telos free nature we find ourselves in. This was imbued w meaning where it was found in human society and elevated to a mythological type of truism. As such, even societies as far removed from nature as possible who have the freedom to build whatever still lean on these structures for the sake of familiarity.

  4. Seems to me that it would be a labor / responsibility distribution system. I would think some of it would be spontaneous – a kind of situation where you have a diverse group of people and many different jobs to do, dividing it up based on physical and mental capabilities is a easy way to divide things between them. Age and gender is also a relatively clear dividing line – sort of the US uses 18 to vote or how sports teams may be divided up by age bracket. School years are also handled this way.

    It may be ritualized to show everyone, including the individual, that this person is in this catagory with this role. Each role would need to be accepted and affirmed by the rest of the group to make it legitimate (this is not exactly like voting, but acting with ‘common consent’ of the group). It sets out a rough path of progression within the group too.

    This would probably be very linked to social mores of a group – how one person interacts with another in the group, and what is one person’s obligation to another member of the tribe.

  5. I would recommend you take a look at [The Kalenjin Age Set System ]( from Kenya too, very similar.

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