In the cloak of rule. Modalities of power in the Bourgou (North Benin) 1900-1995
Alber discusses power in the pre-colonial Borgou, rule in the colonial Bourgou, and office/positions, power and rule in Tebo. The first part on power in the pre-colonial Borgou discusses the question of a possible feudal state, then Wasangari rulers and their 'culture', raids and war - that is, processes of violence and appropriation (raids, feuds, caravan robbery, cattle raids, slave raids, the limits and social embeddedness of violence), and finally feasts and festivals with their processes of redistribution are described -guided by theory (e.g., M. Mauss, and M. Erdheim, the latter on prestige and power aspects). The second part on rule in the colonial Bourgou is divided into early colonial time (including the construction of territoriality), the construction of chiefdoms (including the disentanglement of interethnic power relations, the prohibition of slavery and raids, introduction of taxes and recruitment of soldiers), the Bio Guera uprising (1916/17), changes in colonial politics in the 1920s, and the late and postcolonial chiefdom. The third part then gives a socio-geographical introduction into the present setting, describes the variety of office: for men, women, and ensuing conflict and power aspects, and finally state rule and its local transformations is exemplified in a village case study, including a focus on local agency.
Keywords: power in Borgou, rule in Borgou, raids, feuds, slavery, violence, colonialism in Borgou, exchange in Borgou, Mauss, M., Erdheim, M., redistribution, chiefdom