Silence : Disputes on the Ground and in the Mind among the Iraqw in Karatu District, Tanzania

Sammanfattning: This dissertation argues that interpersonal disputes do not escalate among the Iraqw in Karatu district, Tanzania, because of an indigenous institution called wakari, which entails the erasure of all social contact between opponents in an irreconcilable dispute. In order to clarify the relationship between the role of wakari and other factors influencing the unfolding of a dispute, such as the role of the state, social structure and cultural values promoting peace, the dissertation discusses extensively how local communities have been integrated into colonial and post-colonial systems, and how meanings of peace, conflict, prosperity and poverty are articulated in different contexts by different actors. Through a comparison of conflicts between the Iraqw and other ethnic groups, and between social aggregates within the Iraqw society, it is demonstrated that whereas the indigenous institution, hayoda, in these conflicts, transposes personal grievances to public concerns, wakari, through a veil of silence, prevents interpersonal disputes from escalating. The function of wakari rests on the belief that the wrongdoer sooner or later will be punished by divine powers. The wrongdoer will then seek reconciliation. During the process of reconciliation, stories of personal grievances become public but, at this time, transposition from private to public serves to heal the broken relationship and not to escalate the dispute.

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