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Regular version of the site

Article

Manipulations of the Corpus in the Context of Life Cycle Rites among the Datoga Cattle Breeders of Northern Tanzania

Social Evolution & History. 2015. Vol. 14. No. 1. P. 87-104.
Burkova V., Butovskaya M., Mabulla A.

The study of contemporary traditional pastoralist societies of Eastern Africa provide perfect examples of norms enforcement by third par- ties, and the life cycle ceremonies is a good example. The Datoga are characterized by exceptionally well-preserved traditional childbirth and postpartum rites, as well as by multistage system of integration of an infant into the tribe, clan, and family. The ceremonies represent a complex process of social interactions between a newborn, his or her relatives, and neighbors. During the ceremonies, an interrelation between an infant and others is established through a complex exchange of responsibilities, favors, and presents, as prescribed by the cultural scenario. In this paper we present the description of post- partum ceremonies and caloripuncture ceremony of an infant, con- ducted by contemporary Datoga. This particular example demon- strates the importance of cultural group selection in small-scale socie- ties and one of the possible mechanisms to achieve human ultrasocial- ity, rooted in self-identification with others on the basis of culturally installed similarity ques.