Household structures and social relations among the Luo of Ndhiwa division, Homa-Bay district
Lang'o, Daniel B.
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This thesis concerns itself with the mutual communication between people and their environment; that people influence and are influenced by the built surrounding. The basic argument in the thesis is that several factors influence human behaviour and among these are the physical structures that people construct, the space that these structures occupy and the arrangement of these structures. The ideal typical Luo homestead in Ndhiwa Division, Homabay District is the basis for the thesis. The population in this study was the typical indigenous polygynous Luo homestead. The homestead was chosen because it was the one most likely to provide answers to the questions raised by the hypotheses in the study. The basic anthropological data collection techniques were ernployed in this study which is a qualitative and descriptive one. Also employed was the stratified sampling technique for use in the questionnaire as supplementary to the anthropological data collection techniques. The manner in which a people construct buildings, perceive and behave in them, and accommodate change is firmly intertwined with their worldview such that any development oriented adjustment can effectively work only if the people themselves see it as useful in improving their day to day life. Practical physical considerations play an important role in determining choice of site among the Luo, though other factors also have some influence. Building materials depend upon availability and suitability. In a typical Luo homestead, the design and layout of each structure is contributory to the proper functioning of the total homestead system. A structure ceases to exist once its functions are lost or incorporated into another. Those structures that have functions useful to the system continue to persist in establishment and form, with adjustments to fit in with their expanding functions. Traditions dictate certain norms of behaviour in society, manifested in material culture. Certain spaces have more value than others. Regarding buildings, those structures built on valued spaces are relatively more important. Consequently, the owners of the spaces exercise more influence over others. This, in turn, shapes behaviour, makes certain responses and actions possible and thereby shapes social relationships within the limits customs permit.
Institute of Anthropology, Gender and African Studies
Master of Arts in Anthropology