My main publications

Changing generations: Dynamics of Generation- and Age-Sets in Southeastern Sudan (Toposa) and Northwestern Kenya (Turkana)

There was a scientific controversy in the 70s and 80s of last century, whether generation-set systems were generally predetermined to collapse because of demographic reasons. Actually all known ethnic groups have altered their systems in one way or another. However, demography was not the reason, as I was able to demonstrate in a computerised model. Other reasons must be found, and they are actually found in internal and external stress.


An introduction to the country and its inhabitants, the Toposa and the Turkana, is given on the first 50 pages of the dissertation.

The Ngibokoi Dilemma: generation-sets and social system engineering in times of stress – an example from the Toposa of Southern Sudan

Prolonged droughts are a major stress factor to the pastoral system of the Toposa (and Turkana) as they lead to a decimation of their herds. As a result, animal-based dowry is not available in sufficient quantity, resulting in a collapse of the traditional marriage system. Therefore illegitimate children are born in great quantities which leads to an increasing age overlap between generation-sets, causing severe conflicts. The paper demonstrates by a computerised model how this happened in a historical case among the Toposa.

Ateker Generation-Set Systems Revisited – field facts and findings, and a systematisation

The paper describes the basic functions, rationalities and mechanisms of generation-set stems of the „Ateker“ type. Different systems are described and compared.

Generation-Sets and Age-Sets Made Easy

This short paper aims at bringing some clarity into the often blurred issues of generation-sets, age-sets and the concept of generation.

Hybrid Pastoralists – Development interventions and new Turkana identities

After heavy droughts and famines in the 80s and 90s of last century, relief and development aid were strongly enforced among the Turkana. This came to an abrupt end when the Norwegian aid organisation had to leave the country. This paper analyses how the Turkana have found a balance between their traditional pastoral life and the modern Kenyan world.

Publication list