Positions of authority in any society are limited in number, and therefore rules of selection must operate in their recruitment. There must also be limitations upon the range of authority exercised. These problems are particularly acute in the case of high office, where the questions of recruitment and succession are of central importance. This 1979 volume provides a general and theoretical analysis of succession in different traditional African societies. Jack Goody's introduction spells out the main ways in which systems of succession to office differ, and assesses the problem each system solves and the dilemmas it creates. He also analyses the tensions to which succession gives rise, and relates these to specific methods of transferring office from one generation to the next, The four case studies, all based on extensive fieldwork, consider succession among the Bausto, the Baganda, the Nyamwezi and the Gonja.
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