Published online by Cambridge University Press: 04 November 2009
The Jola of Kalunay are adapting a multitude of foreign practices to their own needs. No less than the native Jola religion, Islam developed in dialectical relationship with novel economic and social pursuits. To attempt to identify foreign, as opposed to indigenous, traits, is a sterile exercise; they evolved together, as a coherent cultural whole. With Islam as the legitimating idiom, the Kalunay Jola have adopted a particular Manding pattern of social relations that emphasizes descent, gender, and relative age. Yet these transformations did not occur in isolation. They are part of an emergent social system characterized by patron–client relations of production and control over vital resources.
There is more to the so-called process of “Mandingization” than a mere label. On the surface, it describes the substitution of old practices by equally old, but different, practices. In a more fundamental way, however, what I have been describing as Fatiya's new “way” is only a particular juncture in the time–space dimensions of the Kalunay Jola. Marzouk-Schmitz (1981: 4) implies that the “Mandingization” of Jola society has somehow come to an end: “One does not know why this phenomenon has stopped suddenly in time (end of the 19th century) and within precise geographical boundaries.” But social change is not a simple process, nor a one-time thing. The process of Manding–Jola adjustment is still going on, in interesting ways.