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University of Oslo (UiO) (2007)

Managing Fulbe identity : exchange relations and ethnic discourses in a village in central Mali

Birkeland, Alfhild

Titre : Managing Fulbe identity : exchange relations and ethnic discourses in a village in central Mali

Auteur : Birkeland, Alfhild

Université de soutenance : University of Oslo (UiO)

Grade : Master Thesis 2007

Résumé
This study is about the Fulbe in Madougou and how they manage their identity in their meetings with relevant others in a context of social and cultural complexity. The rural village of Madougou is socially diverse, and the Fulbe pastoralists living here are in daily contact with other groups and categories, mainly the agriculturalist Dogon but also the different “castes” or occupational categories, nyeeybe, and the former slaves, the Riimaybe and the Maccubé. While my main focus is on the Fulbe, I need to explore their relations with the other groups and categories to understand, if and eventually how, these relations influence the managing of Fulbe identity, and how the borders between the different groups and categories are constructed and maintained. There exists an extensive network of exchange relations of goods and services between the different groups and categories in Madougou. This is based on a social hierarchy of nobles, “castes” and former slaves, the social division of labour, the different lifestyles (real or imagined), and the modes of production between these categories. This social hierarchy is a historically rooted construction open for negotiation, and there exists a discrepancy between the levels of ethnic discourses and social practice. Despite historical hostility and social and cultural differences between the Fulbe and the Dogon, social practice and exchange relations in and outside the market place function as integrating forces that reduce the level of potential conflicts in daily life, also mediated by the ambiguous status of the nyeeybe categories. Personal relationships like friendship, joking relationships (dendiraagu) and host relations (njaatigi), are important factors in preventing conflicts in seasons when interests between cultivating and herding culminate, like in harvest time. Islam, the practice of praying and traditional medicine also function as an integrating, common framework for inter-ethnic and inter-nyeenyo relations.

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Page publiée le 11 octobre 2012, mise à jour le 11 février 2018