1 map, 36 b/w photos, 5 diagrams, 1 genealogy, 3 tables, glossary, index
Text language: English
Among the Bashada of Southern Ethiopia, individual misdeeds and wrong-doings are expected, especially when it comes from children and adolescents, as it is believed that misbehaviour is part of human nature. To prevent them from harming themselves and others, children, adolescents and adults have to be guarded, and guided, and also sanctioned by their age-mates and seniors. As unresolved conflicts are believed to bring about misfortune and cause disasters such as warfare, sickness or droughts, disturbed social relations are usually mended through social sanctions.
In her research Susanne Epple examines the specific social roles individuals achieve or are ascribed to during their lives. She looks at the specific modes of communication used to articulate, confirm and strengthen social relations between children, adolescents, adults and elderly people of both sexes. In this context, she shows that the existing age-set organisation has an influence on all members of Bashada society.
While the relationships between adult men as members of the different age-sets are clearly defined and interaction between them follows certain rules, the relations among children, adolescents and women follow the principle of seniority in a more general way. Besides giving a close insight into Bashada lives, the author offers a new perspective on East African age-set societies.