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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Asante Queen Mothers: Precolonial Authority in a Postcolonial Society
Author:Stoeltje, Beverly J.
Periodical:Research Review (ISSN 0855-4412)
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:Ghana
West Africa
Ashanti polity
women rulers
Cultural Roles
Sex Roles
Politics and Government
Ashanti (Kingdom)
Ashanti (African people)
Leadership in women
women politicians
Abstract:While the Asantehene and the Asantehemmaa - the king and queen mother of the Asante - are well-known figures in Ghana, less familiar are the many queen mothers who function in parallel roles to chiefs in every Asante town and paramountcy. This article considers the queen mother's role and responsibilities in the political system of the Asante. Through the weekly meetings of courts, the frequent large-scale funerals and regularly occurring rituals, Asante perform their culture. Focusing on queen mothers as a sign of female authority, the article explores their role from the perspective of performance, directing attention to actual situations and events and particular individuals, and taking account of the relevant historical, social, political and economic conditions affecting a set of circumstances. The article shows that, currently, the forces of nationalism and globalization shape power relations within chieftaincy and pose a threat to the authority of queen mothers. However, rather than acting as advisors to chiefs who are often uninterested and unavailable, the dominant function of queen mothers is shifting to the welfare of women. The article derives from the author's ethnographic research carried out in the Ashanti region in 1989-1990. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [ASC Leiden abstract]