Teso in Transformation

Colonial Penetration in Teso District, Eastern Uganda, and its Contemporary Significance
  • Joan Vincent
Part of the Institute of Social Studies book series (ISDS, volume 2)


The crisis of penetration is largely seen today as one facing the new nations of the Third World. Yet, taking a deeper historical and a broader sociological perspective, it is apparent that such a crisis faces any group that seeks to rule another and is, indeed, characteristic of that eventful phase in which a political group external to a society or a newly formed group within it, seeks to extend its power, initiating change. The representatives of the government at the local level with which this paper deals were expatriate British colonial officers and African ‘client chiefs’.1 For both, political and administrative penetration entailed, in sequence, strategies of access, neutralization, legitimation and mobilization.2 These strategies were, to an extent, conditioned by factors arising out of interaction between groups within the society to be penetrated—Teso District in eastern Uganda. The argument to be presented here has, therefore, two facets. On the one hand, we consider the immediate and subjective form that the ‘problem’ or‘crisis’ of penetration took for British administrators in Teso in their efforts to establish and maintain relations with peripheral groups. On the other hand, an attempt is made to delineate the extent to which interaction and conflict among the leading elements of Teso society conditioned the nature and success of the penetration process.3


Political Community Cash Income Political Arena District Officer Colonial Administration 
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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joan Vincent

There are no affiliations available

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