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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Charisma and Ethnicity in Political Context: A Case Study in the Establishment of a Senegalese Religious Clientele
Author:Villalón, Leonardo A.ISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Senegal
Subjects:Muslim brotherhoods
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1161299
Abstract:Through an examination of a case of a popular switch in religious affiliation in the small regional capital of Fatick, this article explores the factors that give rise to new Muslim maraboutic movements in Senegal. While the majority of the Serer population of the town had previously claimed an affiliation with the Sy family branch of the Tijaniyya order, based in Tivaouane, over the course of the latter half of the 1980s there was a widespread transfer of allegiance to a Serer marabout, El Hajj Ousmane Mama Ansou Niang, known popularly as Ma Ansou Niang. A consideration of this realignment reveals little basis for interpreting it as a function of maraboutic 'charisma' in the sense of any distinctive qualities of the religious message or of the messenger himself. It is, rather, the 'popular demand' side of charisma which emerges as important, an aspect that must be understood in the context of the particular local implications of Serer ethnicity. Because a religious model has thus been adopted to address primarily secular concerns, the study supports the argument that the entire maraboutic system has been institutionalized as the prevailing means of organizing societal concerns in Senegal. The case thus has significant implications not only for the study of Senegalese Sufi movements but also for an understanding of the sociopolitical impact of Islam in the country. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.