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Divining Knowledge: The Man Question In Ifá

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Part of the Gender and Cultural Studies in Africa and the Diaspora book series (GCSAD)

Abstract

The primordial Yorùbá1 social organization was a seniority-based system. In the society, the main principle of social relations was seniority defined by relative age. Thus the older person in any social interaction or institutions that are deemed to be of older vintage are privileged in the culture. As an institution, seniority is socially constructed and chronological age is not its only feature. In other contexts, chronology is reckoned differently. For example, in the case of twin births, the first infant to emerge from the birth canal is regarded as the junior and the second is the privileged senior, a convention encapsulated in their names: Táíwò for the junior and Kẹ́ hìndé for the senior. In the culture, the belief is that Táíwò, the àbúrò (junior), came out of the birth canal first because Kẹ́hìndé, the ẹ̀gbọ́n (senior), had sent her on an errand to go to the world first and ascertain if it is a hospitable place. Another context in which the seniority hierarchy exposes a different form of accounting than chronological age is its usage in families. In patrilocal marriages, the in-marrying bride is regarded as junior to all the members of the groom’s lineage no matter their biological age. In this instance, the seniority ranking is predicated on when each and every member of the lineage entered the patrilineage whether through marriage or through birth. The chronology of brides entering the family through marriage is reckoned from the day they married into the family and not the day they were born.

Keywords

  • Gender Discrimination
  • Male Dominance
  • Gender Category
  • Male Mother
  • Birth Canal

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

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© 2016 Oyèrónkẹ́ Oyěwùmí

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Oyěwùmí, O. (2016). Divining Knowledge: The Man Question In Ifá . In: What Gender is Motherhood?. Gender and Cultural Studies in Africa and the Diaspora. Palgrave Macmillan, New York. https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137521255_2

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