Politics and Political Discourse: Was Mande Already a Segmentary Society in the Middle Ages?

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Jansen, J.A.M.M.;
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    1 C Uoyd, TheSearchfor the Niger (Newton Abbot, 1974), Jansen "Draaiende put," chapter 3 Caühé did not proceed from Kankan to Kangaba, because hè heard that there was a war gomg on there

    2 For a more elaborate descnption see ibid, chapter 4 See also Leynaud/Cisse, Paysans Mahnke, 148-50

    3 Jansen "Draaiende put," chapter 4

    4 Buhnen is nght that my comparison with Segu is not clear I made this companson because the Kangaba matenal and the Segu matenal seem to confirm each other In Segu warfare was important, and the rulers represented themselves as bachelors vs unarmed femaie kings Such charactenstics fit Mande status discourse closely, in which those in power represent themselves as 'young' and 'recent' (for instjnce, a 'bachelor') vs the older brother who sits 'home' next to his mother Those m power both in Segu and Kangaba represented themselves along the same principles, and neither aimed to control terntory, hence my use of "state" was inappropriate

    5 For these difficulties see Leynaud/ Cisse, Paysans Mahnke, chapter 3

    6 In a paper presented at the Third International Conference on Mande Studies A shortened version of this paper will appear as "The Younger Brother and the Slranger in Mande Status Discourse," m The Younger Brother and the Stranger Kmship and Politics in West-Africa, ed J Jansen and C Zobel (Leiden, 1996)

    7 My conclusion is basea on my attending several training sessions for the ceremony See my "An Ethnography of the Sunjata Epic m Kela" m In Search of Sunjata the Mande Epic as History, Literature and Performance, ed R A Austen (Bloommgton, forthcoming) See also Jansen "Draaiende put," chapter 7

    Another reason to consider the Kamabolon ceremony as a politjcal event is that the Kamabolon sanctuary is considered to be a 'recent' construction m relation to other Kamabolon-hke sanctuanes (E g , Leynaud/Cisse, Paysans Mahnke, 25, 148 ) The claim for bemg recent comcides with political power, so the setting of the stones about the Kamabolon m combmation with the training sessions mdicates that the Kamabolon ceremony celebrates prestige, but has nothmg to do with creation, control over terntory, or fertihty

    8 For this topic, see the cntical article by Walter E A van Beek "Dogon Restudied A Field Evaluation of the Work of Marcel Gnaule," Current Anthropology, 32 (1991), 139 65

    9 Although, withra the same generation, age is the most important argument, other arguments do exist-for mstance, 'difference in generation' or 'bemg a bastard ' See, e g , C Zobel, "The Noble Griot the Construction of Mande Je/iw-Identities and Political Leadership as Interplay of Alternate Values," in Younger Brother

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