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The elite of the Maldives: sociopolitical organisation and change

Colton, Elizabeth Overton (1995) The elite of the Maldives: sociopolitical organisation and change. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis examines the elite of the Maldive Islands, during a period of great technoeconomic change from 1976 until 1983. This ethnographic study is concerned with the nature of the Maldivian national elite, in particular the reiterative evidence of both repetition and change in its sociopolitical organisation. The first part of the thesis presents the principles of the study and introduces the ethnographic setting of the elite of Maldives. The Preface establishes the historical and methodological foundation of the study. Chapter 1 outlines the foci of the thesis and places it within a general anthropological framework. Chapter 2 places the elite within the context of the Maldivian geographical setting, history, and classification systems. The second part of the study sets out the basic building blocks of the elite system. Chapter 3 essentially defines the Maldivian elite and describes the stratification system, politics, and the economic basis for the elite's power. Chapter 4 presents the basic building blocks of kinship and affinity-- including sibling group, affines (especially brothers-in-law, lianoo), and friendship. Chapter 5 focuses upon the special role of the ''house" as the basic political unit of the Maldivian elite. The third part of this thesis discusses the use of the elite system over time. Chapter 6 provides a detailed description of the ''political game", including the importance of protocol, ritualistic functions, and government service. Chapter 7 details the means of social control, including the rewards and punishments for the elite. Chapter 8 describes the patterns and cycles of political conflict within the Maldivian elite system. The conclusion argues that the complex Maldivian elite system, with its evidence of change at the time of this study as a result of complex processes of modernisation in combination with a clear repetition of patterns and reiterative cycles over time, presents a model of evolutionary replication of a sociopolitical system.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anthropology, Cultural
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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