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  • Print publication year: 1991
  • Online publication date: November 2009

Chapter 4 - The impact on social and productive relations


The Kujamaat Jola have finally embraced Islam and embarked upon commercial agriculture. But the chaotic experiences of the previous century have left their mark. The Jipalom inhabitants seem to be at a crossroads: they are socially atomized, politically marginalized, and economically dependent upon the nation-state. As a result of past upheavals and population displacements, Kujamaat communities have become little more than aggregations of largely independent wards and courtyard units. Internal contradictions in the social fabric have emerged between the genders and the generations. Production has been channeled into two connective, task-specific agricultural systems that compete for labor and land. A coherent new ideology relating “traditional” beliefs to new Islamic rituals has yet to be forged, one that can negotiate the gap that now exists between old practices and new relationships. For Islam does not participate in a highly articulated structure of power relations. And it also lacks the direct association that once existed between the spirit-shrines, their keepers, and the forces and relations of production. Only in those areas like the Kalunay, where Islam has been associated with a clearcut and prior Manding model of social relations, has the transition to a new economic order been negotiated.

The present chapter begins by placing the Jipalom community in its proper historical context. It then deals with three spheres of present-day community relations: social, religious, and productive relations. The focus is on the causes and consequences of the lack of viable linkages between these dimensions.