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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Creation of a Tradition: Fulani Chiefs in Dahomey/Benin from the Late Nineteenth Century
Author:Bierschenk, ThomasISNI
Geographic terms:Benin
indirect rule
traditional rulers
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/40341663
Abstract:In rural Bénin, 'democratic renewal' has led to developments which appear paradoxical. In many rural areas one can observe a renaissance of 'traditional culture', including the reemergence of 'traditional chiefs'. The story of Fulani chief Chabi Mama serves as an illustration of the author's viewpoint that the advent of decolonization and African socialism did not result in the demise of the 'traditional' Fulani chiefs in north Bénin. The author also argues that it is difficult to find proof of the precolonial origins of the institution of chieftaincy, as claimed by the Fulani chiefs today. His argumentation is summarized in the following points: 1) The Fulani chieftaincy in Borgou region is not a traditional 'institution' originating from precolonial times, but was created by the French at the beginning of the colonial era. 2) In Borgou, the chiefs and the modern elite do not constitute two distinct social groups. They should be seen as successive generations of 'modern' African politicians. 3) For these politicians, the concepts of 'tradition' and 'modernity' are not antithetical. 4) During phases of 'traditionalism' what is referred to is not a single existing homogeneous 'traditional African culture', but a combination of existing cultural elements. Bibliogr., notes, ref.