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Comparative Religion

The Politics of Religious Change on the Upper Guinea Coast: by Ramon Sarró

By Ramon Sarró

Ramon Sarr? explores an iconoclastic non secular circulate initiated via a Muslim preacher through the French colonial interval. utilising an ethnographic method that respects the testimony of these who suffered violence in place of those that desired to "get rid of custom," this paintings discusses the level to which iconoclasm produces a rupture of non secular wisdom and id and analyzes its relevance within the making of contemporary international locations and voters. The Politics of non secular switch at the higher Guinea Coast examines the old complexity of the interface among Islam, conventional religions, and Christianity in West Africa, and the way this interface connects to dramatic political swap. The e-book unveils a unprecedented background and agents a discussion among a protracted culture of anthropology and modern anthropological debates. a variety of readers, fairly people with an curiosity within the anthropology of faith, iconoclasm, the background and anthropology of West Africa, or the politics of background, will gravitate towards this paintings.

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Additional info for The Politics of Religious Change on the Upper Guinea Coast: Iconoclasm Done and Undone (International African Library)

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Studies by Marianne Ferme (2001) and Rosalind Shaw (2002) have added ethnographic and historical insights that link the violence of the present to the conflictive histories and socio-political structures of the region. In studying the recent conflict in Guinée Forestière, the rain forest area whose ethnic groups overlap in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Michael McGovern (2004) has shown how the violence in the region, often viewed as ethnic conflict (Loma vs Manya, for example), can be better explained in terms of land access and the instrumentalisation of symbolic cultural resources such as local notions of autochthony and seniority, of ‘wifegiving’ vs ‘wife-taking’ status, of land-owning vs client descent groups, of members of secret societies vs strangers, and so on.

The fixity of the Baga concept dissolves when these multiple voices are heard, giving rise to a much more fluid picture. Likewise, as far as language is concerned, indigenous views could also help us unpack the problematic fixed identification between a ‘language’ and a ‘population’ that pervades much of the literature on the region. It is true that many interviewees told me that their ancestors were speaking a ‘Baga’ language before arriving at the coast. Yet other, normally older interviewees argued that before people arrived at the coast they were speaking a different language to the one they speak today; once on the coast, however, everybody had to rivers and motorways 31 learn the language of the amanco, the spirit of the place with whom the first arrivals had to ‘sign a contract’.

Rivers penetrating the interior of the continent were for her, as they had been for many others for many centuries, a powerful image of Africa’s fascinating and remote inner secrets. Likewise, today’s roads and bridges cutting across rivers and tidal creeks and going from small ricefarming villages to the industrial centre of Kamsar, to its airport, or to the invisible city of Mpame, are equally fascinating for many a mangrove dweller. Such is the ‘moral geography’ (Thomas 2002) in which coastal farmers have constructed a world for themselves.

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