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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Clients or Critics? Politics, Griots and Gender in Postcolonial Mali
Author:Zobel, Clemens
Periodical:Mande Studies
Geographic term:Mali
Subjects:gender relations
political change
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
History and Exploration
Women's Issues
Politics and Government
Education and Oral Traditions
Cultural Roles
Sex Roles
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/44093484
Abstract:The author explores the influence which 'jeliw', Mandinka and Bamana griots, have wielded as critical moral agents within the various political systems that have existed in Mali (or the French Sudan) since the colonial period. The colonial era witnessed the birth of the 'jeli' as cultural agent in nationbuilding; during the military era, the 'jelimuso' (griot woman) became an entrepreneur; and in the era of democracy, the 'jeliya', the art of the 'jeli', returned to the platform of political representation.The creation of modern 'jeli' traditions is related to the importance of 'jelimuso' in reinterpreting gender relations and transforming what academic literature has constructed to be a male dominated genre. Finally, in view of the historical trajectory of 'jeliya', the author discusses its potential as a critical idiom. He argues that, rather than being reducible to either the ideal of impartial arbritation or the defence of particular interests, 'jeli' agency is situated within an ambiguous field of tension between these two aspects. Bibliogr., notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]