This collection contains three theoretical essays (by Bailey, Boissevain and Salisbury,
respectively) and seven ethnographic case studies. The theoretical pieces address the 'state of the
art' since the writings in the sixties on factionalism. The argument of the book is that the key
element in assessing whether 'divided houses' fall is not the presence of factions themselves, but
the course taken by factionalism, particularly in situations of change and crisis.
The form of factionalism--its rules, logic and symbols--varies cross-culturally, and a
sense of this variation is provided in the case studies, whose cultural subjects range from African
pastoralists to English academics.