Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-768ffcd9cc-96qlp Total loading time: 0.274 Render date: 2022-12-02T03:50:00.895Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true
This chapter is part of a book that is no longer available to purchase from Cambridge Core

14 - Land, Spiritual Power, and Gerontocracy: An Exploration of the Roots of Egalitarian Revolution in the Western Voltaic Region

Stephen A. Dueppen
Affiliation:
University of Oregon
Get access

Summary

The evolution of leadership at Kirikongo was extensively shaped by gerontocratic principles, ritually legitimized power, and egalitarian ideologies of land tenure. With this underlying cultural logic of three structuring principles, community members over the past two millennia interpreted, reinterpreted, invented, rejected and repurposed sources of power and their social and material manifestations.

West Africanists have long recognized that political power is frequently derived from the petition of divinities and/or ancestors by a representative of a cultural entity (e.g. community, House, etc.) (see Chapter 3). In the surveyed Voltaic societies, leadership roles are similarly centered upon individuals who maintain and sacrifice at earth shrines, ancestral shrines and sometimes more mysterious fetish shrines. These symbolic bases of power assure the well-being of the community through ritual labor. Depending upon their context and history, they can be component parts of corporate political strategies or foundational to the practice of exclusionary power. In addition, a single society can have multiple leadership roles based in different nodes of ritually legitimized power, often held by different houses or kin-groups. For example, the Bwa conceptualize two rights that sanction the community, the nyumuni with the spirits of nature as earth priest, and the tu over the ancestral cult—both rights are usually held by the village headman (Capron 1973). The Gouin combine these two rights and entrust them to a headman (hiεnmanjigantieno), who maintains the earth shrine (as earth priest) through the intercession of his ancestors (Dacher 1997a). The Gouin headman also has a role as political headman, or nelenjigantieno, that sacrifices to divinities for rain, peace, and for the protection of the community from abuses by himself.

Type
Chapter
Information
Egalitarian Revolution in the Savanna
The Origins of a West African Political System
, pp. 293 - 305
Publisher: Acumen Publishing
Print publication year: 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×