E.E.Evans Pritchard (1940). The Nuer of the Southern Sudan1
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In the anthropological literature the Nuer of the Sudan are a classic case of a pastoral society of a segmentary tribal type. Evans-Pritchard relates the social organization of the Nuer to their cattle based, nomadic life style in a semi-arid environment. This ecological context encourages a political arrangement among the Nuer based on balanced opposition between lineage and tribal segments, an arrangement called segmentary opposition. In the absence of a centralized political leadership, group conflict (feuds and war) are frequent, but not chaotic. The lineage and tribal structure of the society defines possible opponents and allies, and the institution of the leopard-skin chief provides for mediation to avoid violence.