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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Praise without Enchantment: Griots, Broadcast Media, and the Politics of Tradition in Mali
Author:Schulz, Dorothea E.ISNI
Periodical:Africa Today
Geographic term:Mali
Politics and Government
Literature, Mass Media and the Press
History and Exploration
Education and Oral Traditions
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4187191
Abstract:Notions of political legitimacy have changed considerably since the imposition of French colonial rule in Mali. This article explores how political elites have sought legitimacy by relying on the performance skills of 'griots', praise singers and speakers. Since Mali's independence in 1962, the songs of some 'griots' have been broadcast on national radio and, more recently, on local radio stations. This article examines how people in rural southern Mali (in the circle of Kita) evaluate 'griot' praise songs broadcast on the national radio station. The first section examines the participation of 'griots' in public debate in southern Mali in the 19th century. The next section illustrates how sociopolitical changes triggered by colonial rule led to the gradual erosion of the institutional context that had been at the basis of 'griot' performance. The third section considers whether during Mali's first thirty years of independence the availability of broadcast technology enhanced the capacities of new elites to present the new political order in a favourable light. The fourth section proposes a synthesis of historical changes in notions of legitimate rule, showing how farmers in southern Mali have strong reservations about multiparty democracy and about the principles on which the current government bases its justificatory discourse. Notes, ref.