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Title:Female Elites, Women's Formal Associations, and Political Practices in Urban Mali (West Africa)
Author(s):De Jorio, Rosa
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Gottlieb, Alma
Department / Program:Anthropology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Political Science, General
Abstract:This work begins with a critical review of some of the available literature on village politics. It tries to account for the ways that memories of the past have informed people's political practices during the struggle for independence from France. The work continues with discussing a number of institutional transformations that women's formal organizations have gone through from the colonial era to the present. While it describes the diverse historical phases of the women's movement, the main goal remains to further an understanding of the relationship between political practices and local culture. At the center of my discussion I situate the patronage system, since relationships among women within their organizations are far from egalitarian. Building on work by Amselle, Bagayogo and Lambert de Frondeville, I present patron-client relationships as an orienting paradigm within women's political associations. This discussion allows me to focus on the ways in which women's political activism, social distinctions, and Mande social philosophy intertwine in the practices and representations of female group members. I explore the multiple dimensions of the patronage system in Mali by looking at leaders' professional identities, motivations, cultural values, and political practices. I include glimpses detailing how leaders are viewed from the bottom up, and spend some time to describe women's communal activities, especially during feast time. I conclude by drawing some implications of my study for a general understanding of politics in Mali. This work is based on a twenty months of fieldwork in the cities of Bamako and Segu, as well as archival work in Mali, Italy, and the US.
Issue Date:1997
Description:350 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1997.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI9717269
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:1997

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