The history of the city of Djenne (Mali) and the traditional political culture

Vostok/Oriens '2017, №6

DOI: 10.7868/S0869190817060073

A characteristic feature of the traditional political culture of the Republic of Mali is a mechanism that avoids ethnic and religious conflicts. The author suggests that this peculiar political culture originates from the history of the city of Djenne, the oldest in West Africa. There were many tragic events in its history, such as prolonged sieges, conquests, epidemics and natural disasters. However, written sources contain no information about any religious and ethnic conflicts there. The society of ancient Djenne used the “separation” of potentially conflict groups in space as well as the establishment of their strictly defined roles in the traditional economy combined with their rights in self-government and cultural autonomy. Specialized ethno-professional settlements around Djenne-djeno became the foundation on which a system of castes, jamu (clans) and joking relationship developed during the Middle Ages. These institutions do prevent ethnic, confessional and social conflicts in the modern Republic of Mali.

Keywords: Mali, Djenne history, jamu, joking relationship, casts, traditional political culture, conflicts

Pages: С. 76–87

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