Enthnography and Administration: a Study of Anglo-Tiv ‘Working Misunderstanding’ Academic Article uri icon


  • Colonial rule embodied as a concomitant aspect ideological justifications based on racial and cultural differences, acceptance of which by the governed led to the development of a symbiotic relationship between the cultures of paternalism and subservience, a symbiosis often involving numerous ‘working misunderstandings’ arising from the application of conceptual models which had proven meaningful under quite different circumstances. This article examines the conceptual models which influenced European perceptions of Tiv society, the consequent ‘working misunderstandings’ which underlay the symbiotic relationship between government and a society subject to its jurisdiction but which had its own particular traditions, and the changes which appear to have occurred in Tiv value systems, institutions, and traditions in response to new situations. It is hoped that it will be of general interest to social and political historians, as well as those concerned with methodological problems relating to the use of ethnographic data.

publication date

  • July 1974