Mohamed Saili


This study explores two novels titled Flesh of the Wild Ox (1932) and The Riffian (1933) written by Carleton S. Coon about the Moroccan Rif. These roughly unexplored novels are by an ethnographer and derive from an ethnography titled Tribes of the Rif (1931). Indeed, they “boast” themes usually seen as ethnographic in nature: kinship, marriage, polygyny, honour and shame, magic, subsistence pattern and inter-tribal warfare. This study is set within the convergence of literature and ethnography, striving to foreground the ethnographicity within the novels. It brings kinship into focus, notably investigating how kinship works in relation to power. It distinguishes twin kin power relationships: intra-kin and inter-kin. Intra-kin power relationships are domestic, involving individuals of a single kin group while inter-kin power relationships are transdomestic, involving individuals of different descent groups or the groups themselves. In both relationships, kinship operates inclusively as the Riffian characters strive to expand the number of individuals and groupings who, in Schweitzer’s words, can be “made into relatives” (210). The Riffians use inclusive strategies, including polygyny, exogamy and shame compulsion, so they can extend kin ties to non-kin. Those kinship strategies validate the the elasticity of kin boundaries among the Riffians.

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Coon, Flesh of the Wild Ox, The Riffian, kinship, power, intra-kin and inter-kin relationships, exclusiveness, elasticity

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