A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of a Nilotic People

The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of a Nilotic People
            The book provides insightful and detailed information about the life of the Nuer, a pre-modern Sudanese society living along the Upper Nile. The first two chapters, ‘Cattle’ and ‘Oecology,’ set the scene for the Nuer, cattle pastoralists who exercised restricted horticulture. Evans-Pritchard emphasized how cattle monopolized their economic activity and social ideals. He spent much of his time in the field investigating the Nuer, studying their language, dissecting their remarkably unique and complex culture and society, and assessing their relationship to an unforgiving ecology, their economy based on cattle raising, and their family and tribal descent structure. He investigates the Nuer management of and reliance on cattle raising alone as means of livelihood and further illuminates the intricacies of a pre-modern native society and culture that lacks writing, law, most private possessions, and centralized political, social, and economic leadership.

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