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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Dahomean dokpe: some effects of recent evolutionary social changes on an archaic cooperative association
Author:Arnould, E.J.
Periodical:Ikenga: Journal of African Studies
Geographic term:Benin
Abstract:Known from Herskovits as the young men's cooperative work group, the dokpe has also been termed a voluntary assocation. Strictly speaking this cannot be the case since membership in the local dokpe was in fact an ascribed status, a prerequisite of adulthood for all young men as early as the eighteenth century. In another paper the present author has maintained that this mandate for collective action emerged in response to specific ecological pressures operating in and around the area known by geographers as the gap of Benin. Later the dokpe assumed an important integrative role under the Dahomean proto-state. Powerful moral and even coercive sanctions to ensure reciprocal relations among younger members of the dokpe and a relationship of subordination to eiders. In this paper the Dahomean dokpe is discussed in relation to certain key evolutionary changes in Dahomean social organization which have occurred during a three hundred year period. Notes.