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Book chapter Book chapter Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Divine kingship' in chiefdoms and states: a single ideological model
Author:Muller, J.-C.ISNI
Book title:The Study of the State
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
Abstract:Two characteristics of 'divine kingship' - the periodic killing of the king, and the transgressions he is asked to act out - are explicity connected in the scapegoat theory of divine kingship. Society fabricates a scapegoat so as to have a sort of victim at hand who can be sacrified in a supervised and ordered way, either when circumstances demand it or at given intervals. In order to do this, in African divine kingship, the king, who is the sacrificial victim, is under the obligation to transgress normality, thus giving the society a justification for killing him in order to restore, or maintain, prosperity. Both chiefdoms and states in many cases share the inner logic of divine kingship and are thus part of the same ideological model. The ideology which stipulates that there is one and only one scapegoat, the chief, or the king, provides a plausibel answer, not to the question of the origin of the state, properly speaking, but to a question very often linked to it, namely, the emergence of single rulers in one population or another. Ref.