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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Secrets, strangers, and order-making in rural Sierra Leone
Author:Albrecht, PeterISNI
Periodical:Journal of Contemporary African Studies (ISSN 1469-9397)
Geographic term:Sierra Leone
Subjects:secret societies
popular justice
human security
land conflicts
External link:https://doi.org/10.1080/02589001.2016.1252097
Abstract:This paper explores the Poro, a male secret society in rural Sierra Leone, and how it conditions access to security and justice. It critiques dichotomies between state and non-state and substantiates the networked quality of order-making as dispersed among a multitude of actors who intertwine disparate rationalities and registers of authority. The secret nature of the Poro, the 'sons of the soil', and the 'stranger' are explored as central figures. Poro membership is essential to the production of social and physical boundaries between insiders and outsiders of a community. By conditioning access to local positions of power and decision-making about how resources are to be distributed, the Poro also conditions access to security and justice. The networked quality of order-making becomes particularly noticeable when the police engages in Poro affairs, which accentuates the multitude of registers of authorities that are combined and assembled as the Poro and the police interact. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum [Journal abstract]