Turkana social consequences over HIV/AIDs


Turkana social consequences over HIV/AIDs

In northwestern Kenya, about 30% of the Turkana population has settled because of livestock loss during raids and recurrent droughts. My major hypothesis for this study was, ‘if the Turkana nomadic pastoralists become sedentary, then social stratification will develop,’ in a theoretical framework of cultural evolution. Methods used were mapping, interviewing, observation, and measurement at 103 households selected as two random samples representing Morulem village and Lokori town. I compared locally identified ‘leaders’ with ‘non-leader’ households for 40 variables involving settlement, ownership, production and consumption, and social and exchange relationships. Significant differences were evident for 16 variables, pointing both to ranking and relict egalitarianism. Among the non- leaders, a poorer group of female-headed households clearly emerged as a lower ‘strata.’ In addition, Lokori was poorer than Morulem, differing significantly for 18 variables. Morulem’s advantages are its forest resources, irrigation scheme, and further distance from external influence than Lokori. Theoretical explanations for this trend can be evolutionary and ecological, structural (political economy), and spatial, showing a pattern of diffusion from the core to the periphery. Not only modern state incorporation and capitalist influence contribute to social differentiation, but sedentarization resembles the pattern of population concentration, intensification of resource use, and stratification which developed with sedentism in the evolutionary past. Two other hypotheses related to social changes were: (1) ‘sedentarization will increase the separation of families;’ and (2) ‘among sedentary

Turkana, the stock- associate ‘bond-friendship’ (lopae) networks will deteriorate.’ Both of these were surprisingly false. The degree of family togetherness was about the same before and after settlement, but more widows and single women with children are now living in towns, whereas before they were cared for in the pastoral sector. The lopae bond-friendship institution is demonstrating resilience despite major social and ecological change: the sedentary Turkana still pursue friendships by begging for and exchanging grain and material goods as well as animals.

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Posted on March 27, 2012, in Categorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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