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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Secrecy and the State: The Kankurang Masquerade in Senegal
Author:Jong, Ferdinand de
Periodical:Mande Studies
Geographic term:Senegal
secret societies
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Architecture and the Arts
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/44078795
Abstract:The Kankurang masquerade is part of the cultural traditions of the population of Casamance, the southernmost region of Senegal. The masquerade is used by the Kankurang secret society to assert its power in the public domain. This paper examines the Kankurang masquerade within the context of changing State-society relationships. In precolonial Mandinko society Kankurang was the public face of a secret society that operated autonomously from the king. In postcolonial Senegal, the masquerade is still used to defend the autonomy of the secret association of initiated men, but the relationship between Kankurang and postcolonial State is becoming increasingly complicated. The author examines the response of the postcolonial State to several licentious Kankurang performances. He shows that the State neither accepted the execution of 'strangers' in Marsassoum, nor tolerated the violent self-assertion by initiates in the Sédhiou revolt. The suspects were tried and sentenced, yet the court made sure that they did not receive severe sentences. The author argues that the distinction betweem citizenship and ethnic subjectivity becomes increasingly blurred in the performances of the Kankurang masquerade; while the secret society penetrates the domain of public politics, it is itself also increasingly penetrated by the public domain. Bibliogr., notes, ref.