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Title:Islamic society and State power in Senegal: disciples and citizens in Fatick
Author:Villalón, Leonardo AlfonsoISNI
Series:African studies series (ISSN 0065-406X)
City of publisher:Cambridge
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
Geographic term:Senegal
social structure
political systems
Church and State
Abstract:The Sufi Muslim orders to which the vast majority of Senegalese belong are the most significant institutions of social organization in the country. This study argues that in Senegal the orders have been a central component of a political system that has been amongst the most stable in Africa. Drawing on the results of fieldwork carried out in Fatick, the study builds a framework for understanding the case of Senegal in terms of the role Islam has played in shaping State-society interactions. A particular version of Islamic social structures serves to constitute what might be described as a religiously based 'civil society' in Senegal. This system is made possible by the contingent nature of relations among three sets of actors: the State elite, the marabouts and the ordinary people of Senegal in their dual role of citizen-disciples. The patterns of interaction between any two of these actors can only be understood in the context of their respective relations with the third. The core of the study is organized around the examination of these interactions. A case study of a recent maraboutic movement illustrates this discussion and serves as a springboard for drawing conclusions about the functions of Islam in Senegalese State-society relations.