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15 Pages

Colonialism and Social Structure

ByIheanyi J. Samuel-Mbaekwe

The study of colonialism in Africa has suffered because, as George Balandier so fruitfully pointed out in the early fifties, the two aspects of colonization and reaction to colonization were falsely separated. Colonialism is important because it is more than acts of creation it embraces social formations whose dimensions even the most imaginative actors in the colonial situation could not predict. Anthropology emerged as a help mate to the study of public administration in an effort to understand the political and social organizations of those African communities which the European colonizers were administering. A major consequence of colonialism was the new opportunity offered for expansion of pre-colonial social structures. In pre-colonial societies in Africa, certain symbols of culture were reserved for those managers of institutions whose responsibility it was to guard the tradition of these societies. There were quite a few societies that lacked certain institutions in their social structure which were present in other pre-colonial societies.