Hierarchy and the Haya Divine Kingship: A Structural and Symbolic Reformulation of Frazer's Thesis

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This article presents a structural and symbolic reformulation of Sir James Frazer's theory of divine kingship. A model of hierarchy derived from formal logic, one that Terence Turner (1977a) applied in his reconceptualization of the structure of rites de passage, is employed to analyze the cosmology of a former Haya kingship of northwest Tanzania. A tripartite model of hierarchy encoded in the ceilings of traditional Haya dwellings is described. Analysis of the model demonstrates how the king's role as a unique mediator symbolically constituted and resolved the problem of the separation and interrelationship between the transcendent and the normative orders.