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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Art, Ritual and Folklore: Dance and Cultural Identity among the Casamance
Author:Mark, Peter
Periodical:Cahiers d'études africaines
Geographic term:Senegal
Architecture and the Arts
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://doi.org/10.3406/cea.1994.1474
Abstract:In 1989 members of the communities of Thionk-Essyl and Mlomp in the northern Basse Casamance (Senegal) presented a festival of local traditions, focussing on dances. In order to understand the interaction between the folkloric dances performed at the 'Semaine culturelle' and the traditional dances from the men's initiation ceremony ('bukut') of the local, Jola, population that serve as inspiration, the author elaborates a model for interpreting the role of folkloric dance in the establishment of local cultural identity. The model is inspired by the studies of Karin Barber and Eric Hobsbawm, and by contemporary German and Swiss 'Volkskunde', notably the work of Hermann Bausinger on European folklore. It appears that, against the background of sharpened political conflict between the people of the Casamance and the government in Dakar, the Jola have been moved to redefine who they see themselves to be. In this context, the folkloristic expression of local dances provides an occasion for self-reflective thinking out of conceptions of identity and of the boundaries of the local community. In contrast to nineteenth-century Europe, in the Casamance the creation of folkloric 'tradition' occurs in a society where the culture that inspired these dances is still very much alive. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in French (p. 745).