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Title:The Talk Goes Outside: Argument, Privacy and Power in Mambil Society Towards a Sociology of Embedded Praxis
Author:Zeitlyn, DavidISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Cameroon
credit cooperatives
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Development and Technology
Abstract:In this paper the sociological implications of loud argument are considered, by taking a case study, the quarrels that often accompany the meetings of rotating credit societies ('dasis'), among the Mambila in Cameroon. Meetings of rotating credit societies are nontraditional forums where power and status are in dispute. These meetings contrast with both domestic arguments and with disputes held in the Chief's court. Rotating credit society meetings usually include arguments but these are dismissed as being unimportant by local informants. They pose a challenge for anthropological analysis since they are such a regular but disregarded - and disparaged - occurrence. 'Dasis' are a relatively new social institution and mix both sex and age groups. Their very disconnection from more important institutions, family life at one extreme and the Chief's court at the other, means that they provide the opportunity to act competitively without much fear of consequence. 'Dasi' quarrels provide an expression of wider competition in Mambila society and allow those who will go on to become respected elders to hone their rhetorical skills. In this way, talk going outside is a very social act. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract, edited]