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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Loma Political Culture: A Phenomenology of Structural Form
Author:Hojbjerg, Christian K.
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic terms:Guinea
traditional polities
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:Upper Guinea political culture is often described as a system of dual sovereignty expressed in an idiom of bilateral kinship. The article examines whether this model applies to the Loma, who live in the border region of northern Liberia and southeast Guinea. The result of the analysis is largely negative. Empirical data collected during field research in 1990-1991 and intermittently from 1993 to 1998 suggest a more complex distribution of political and religious powers, and the analysis of the correlation between ritual and social structure in Loma society indicates a need to revise the current conceptualization of Upper Guinea political culture. Thus, while matrilateral alliance is indeed central in shaping Loma social, political and religious organization, there are certain important limitations on its cognitive potential, particularly when it comes to the influential Poro secret societies. Instead of conceiving of the overlapping domains of politics and cult associations as being determined by one dominant underlying principle, the author proposes to define them as discontinuous orders governed by qualitatively different dynamics: respectively a centripetal and a centrifugal logic. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French.