Social and Economic Utility of Omuramba the Chiga Sorghum Beer

On the basis of field observation among the Chiga of Uganda in 1968 and 1975, the author concludes that, under radically changed circumstances, much of the traditional utility of omuramba had almost vanished or been transformed. Because of political pressures, the religious uses could not continue, while economic uses were greatly reduced and money took the place of beer in paving taxes, fines, and rewards for labour. With the opening of local bars, however, beer drinking began to assume new roles in response to the changing rural circumstances. First it set a new standard for social ranking and initiated a reform of the old social order in the society. Second, selling sorghum and buying beer stimulated the circulation of products and money, contributing to the increased use of money and the transformation of the subsistence economy. Third, on the basis of cash sales, beer consumption developed a sharp cleavage between the rich and the poor in the village and led to the intensification of the latter’s frustration. Bibliogr.

Title:Social and Economic Utility of Omuramba the Chiga Sorghum Beer
Author:Omori, Motoyoshi
Year:1978
Periodical:Senri Ethnological Studies
Issue:1
Pages:89-104
Language:English
Geographic term:Uganda
Abstract:On the basis of field observation among the Chiga of Uganda in 1968 and 1975, the author concludes that, under radically changed circumstances, much of the traditional utility of omuramba had almost vanished or been transformed. Because of political pressures, the religious uses could not continue, while economic uses were greatly reduced and money took the place of beer in paving taxes, fines, and rewards for labour. With the opening of local bars, however, beer drinking began to assume new roles in response to the changing rural circumstances. First it set a new standard for social ranking and initiated a reform of the old social order in the society. Second, selling sorghum and buying beer stimulated the circulation of products and money, contributing to the increased use of money and the transformation of the subsistence economy. Third, on the basis of cash sales, beer consumption developed a sharp cleavage between the rich and the poor in the village and led to the intensification of the latter’s frustration. Bibliogr.