By Thomas M. McKenna
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Extra info for Muslim Rulers and Rebels: Everyday Politics and Armed Separatism in the Southern Philippines (Comparative Studies on Muslim Societies)
The spatially dispersed members of the datu stratum were integrated by ties of supposed shared ancestry that crosscut local descent lines. As the source of all aristocratic titles and the focal point for the system of prestige stratification, the office of sultan (if not always the current officeholder) was treated with deep respect by members of the datu stratum. Ruling class coherence even extended between sultanates (whose elites shared the ruling ideology) and probably helped to ― 56 ― smooth intersultanate trade relationships and temper the level of endemic intraregional hostilities.
They were attributed only to prominent and powerful members of the nobility and served as both metaphors for and explanations of the personal power of individual rulers. The narratives related by non-elite Muslims tend to be unclear about, or indifferent to, the ways in which kamal powers were acquired by rulers. They focus instead on linking the power of command with the command of supernatural powers. Taken as a whole they form a subordinate mythology of power analogous to but distinct from the dominant mythology of nobility.
The effect of the combination of rank gradations within the datu estate, cognatic descent reckoning, and status group exogamy was to render the ideal of discrete valuations of maratabat based on social categories impractical and largely irrelevant. With the children of differently ranked parents allocated to a rank intermediate between those of their parents, the system of prestige stratification generated an "intergraded spectrum of rank" (Stewart 1977, 290) rather than sharply defined status groups.