International Journal of
Sociology and Anthropology

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Sociol. Anthropol.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-988X
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJSA
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 334

Full Length Research Paper

Review of the Samburu: A study of gerontocracy, written by Paul Spencer in 1965

Shambel Tufa Telila
  • Shambel Tufa Telila
  • Department of Social Anthropology, College of Social Sciences and Humanities, University of Jimma, Jimma, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 04 November 2023
  •  Accepted: 02 April 2024
  •  Published: 30 June 2024


The justification for this research review is to investigate the societal structure of Samburu, focusing on their gerontocracy (age-set) administration system in northern Kenya, as studied by Paul Spencer, a British anthropologist who was immersed himself in the society structure during the 1960s. This review aims at conducting an ethnographic analysis of the document or book authored by Spencer. To address this issue, Spencer employed a methodology that combines living within the society, practicing interviews, observations, and theoretical analysis. He utilized both primary and secondary data collection instruments, including interviews, field observations, and focus group discussions. Spencer's theoretical framework primarily draws from structural-functionalism. Furthermore, he extensively engaged with members of the Samburu society, ultimately becoming an adopted member himself.


Key words: The Samburu, the gerontocracy, the age set administration system, northern Kenya.