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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The acephalous society and the indirect rule system in Africa: British colonial administrative policy in retrospect
Author:Daannaa, H.S.ISNI
Periodical:Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law
Geographic term:Ghana
acephalous society
indirect rule
Wala polity
Abstract:Two types of societies can be identified in indigenous Africa: those that have centralized forms of authority (States), and those that have no centralized forms of authority (Stateless or acephalous societies). During the colonial period, indirect rule, the system of native administration practised by the British, covered States and Stateless societies alike. This paper examines the effects of the indirect rule system on the acephalous society of the Chakali, where British colonial rule began in 1901, and the State society of the neighbouring Wala (northern Ghana). It shows that the acephalous society was worse off under indirect rule because, unlike the State society, which was ruled by the colonial administration through chieftaincy, the acephalous society had to grapple with a new and complex centralized form of authority: it had to serve two new masters, the native and the European master. The paper is based on research carried out among the Chakali and Wala in 1987-1991. Bibliogr., notes, ref.