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Friends for Life, Friends for Death

Cohorts and Consciousness among the Lunda-Ndembu
James A. Pritchett
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Breaking away from traditional ethnographic accounts often limited by theoretical frameworks and rhetorical styles, Friends for Life, Friends for Death offers an insider’s view into the day-to-day lives of a self-selected group of male friends within the Lunda-Ndembu society in northwestern Zambia. During his two decades of fieldwork in this region, James Pritchett followed a group of Lunda-Ndembu males, here called Amabwambu (the friends), revealing the importance of the clique both as a principal agent for receiving and interpreting information from and about the world and as a place where strategies could be hatched, tested, and applied. Viewing friendship, versus kinship, as a critical rather than peripheral element of the Lunda-Ndembu and other groups, the author offers new insights into the ways social structures are able to stay viable even in the face of radical change.