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Partible Houses: Variants of Vicinage in Mozambique, Portugal and Brazil

de Pina-Cabral, Joao (2019) Partible Houses: Variants of Vicinage in Mozambique, Portugal and Brazil. Articulo, 2019 (20). Article Number 4434. ISSN 1661-4941. (doi:10.4000/articulo.4434) (KAR id:80227)


Vicinage is a word that emerged in Southern African ethnography in the 1960s to describe how, within a neighbourhood, some houses are more constitutionally linked with each other due to the residential and kinship history of the people who inhabit them (that is, due to the continued identities that the residents transport). In this paper, I treat houses as being in ontogeny, a constant process of self-constitution. Much as Marilyn Strathern argued for persons, houses are dividual in that their singularity comes about through an act of alliance, but they remain ever enmeshed within a set of co-presences that mean they are also partible, for their existence is ever dependent on the existence of other households in the vicinage. The essay focuses on three distinct types of vicinage, endeavouring to show what distinguishes them and what they have in common: among the Chopi of southern Mozambique, as studied by David Webster in the 1960s; in northwestern Iberia, both in the countryside and in urban contexts, as studied by myself in the 1980s; and among the periurban populations of southern Bahia with special reference to the work of Marcellin in Cachoeira in the early 2000s.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.4000/articulo.4434
Uncontrolled keywords: house; household; vicinage; partible; dividual; Brazil; Mozambique, Portugal
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Joao de Pina Cabral
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2020 11:00 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Feb 2021 14:11 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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de Pina-Cabral, Joao.

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