Neha Patil (Editor)

The Nuer

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Publication date  1940
Author  E. E. Evans-Pritchard
Subject  Social anthropology
Originally published  1940
Publisher  Oxford University Press
The Nuer t3gstaticcomimagesqtbnANd9GcSeZNM8Z2qc4FCjGW
Followed by  The Sanusi of Cyrenaica.
Original title  The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of a Nilotic People
Preceded by  Witchcraft, oracles and magic among the Azande
Similar  Nuer religion, African Political Systems, Kinship and marriage, Witchcraft - oracles and magi, The Sanusi of Cyrenaica

The nuer preview

The Nuer: A Description of the Modes of Livelihood and Political Institutions of a Nilotic People (first published 1940) was an anthropological account of the lineage and political systems of the Nuer people by the English anthropologist E. E. Evans-Pritchard.


The nuer people of ethiopia

The structure of the book

The first two chapters - 'Cattle' and 'Oecology' - provided an environmental setting for the Nuer, cattle pastoralists who carried on limited horticulture. Evans-Pritchard emphasised the extent to which cattle dominated both their economic activity and their social ideals:

They consider that horticulture is an unfortunate necessity involving hard and unpleasant labor and not an ideal occupation, and they tend to act on the conviction that the larger the herd, the smaller need be the garden.

The third chapter, 'Time and Space',

The Nuer was the first of three books which Evans-Pritchard would publish on the Nuer: Kinship and Marriage Among the Nuer appeared in 1951, and Nuer Religion in 1956.

In the book's introduction, Evans-Pritchard warmly thanked the Nuer for the welcome he felt they gave him:

my warmest thanks are further rendered to the many Nuer who made me their guest and befriended me. Rather than speak of individuals, I express my general respect for this brave and gentle people.

Renaldo Rosaldo has criticised Evans-Pritchard for making invisible, in the subsequent body of The Nuer, the colonial power relations which enabled his ethnography.


The Nuer Wikipedia