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Rulers and Rainmakers in Precolonial South Pare, Tanzania: Exchange and Ritual Experts in Political Centralization

N. Thomas Håkansson
Ethnology
Vol. 37, No. 3 (Summer, 1998), pp. 263-283
DOI: 10.2307/3774016
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3774016
Page Count: 21
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Rulers and Rainmakers in Precolonial South Pare, Tanzania: Exchange and Ritual Experts in Political Centralization
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Abstract

This article applies Bourdieu's notion of symbolic capital to an analysis of political processes in the small chiefdoms of South Pare Mountain in northeastern Tanzania between 1700 and 1900. Regional exchange of cattle and exotic goods interacted with other social processes to create political change in societies with incipient political centralization. Political legitimization was based on the symbolic capital of ritual preeminence which demanded investment of economic resources. Regional exchange and the development of long-distance ivory and slave trade on the East African coast increased the cost of symbolic capital and exacerbated competition for political power.

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