Spencers Masai

The article attempts to explain complex social aspects of the Masai experience, pertaining to identity and how belonging and functioning within a particular age set and its accompanying ceremonies and practices enable somebody to be considered by others and to consider themselves a Masai. I found the article very interesting and fairly clear in its explanations and discoveries. The language used and research findings described were done so in a clear and simple manner, unlike certain anthropological work, which is overly complicated in explaining simple findings.


As I thought about this article I tried to think about how it relates to my own life and my experience in being a British person and whether there are specific ways, whether ceremonial or relating to age, within my own culture that help me identify with being British.    

I struggled to make relevant comparisons. There are certainly detectable and defined age sets that form part of the educational system, through the separation of primary and secondary schooling, however, this doesn’t necessarily have specific relevance to identify with being British. There is perhaps a pattern of primary and secondary schooling followed by full time employment, promotion, and retirement, however, no compliance with the outlined process would not necessarily be unfitting for a British person, contrary to the thoughts expressed by Spencer regarding the Masai. Contrary to Spencer’s interpretation of the Masai, prestige and respect here are perhaps more associated with an accumulation wealth, whereas in the Masai it is irrelevant.

Whether their is any relevance in making a comparison to British society I’m not sure but I found it interesting to think about how it relates to me and if comparisons could be made.


‘Spencer states that ‘the age system extends beyond territorial sections to encompass all Masai’, which I think is an interesting and important point to make. In many societies and cultures I think that identity is often associated with where you’re from in a geographical sense and little attention is paid to age sets, as spencer has.


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