The Powerful Presence of the Past

Integration and Conflict along the Upper Guinea Coast


This book conceptualizes integration and conflict as interrelated dimensions of social interaction, social relationships and alliances, identifications and identity constructions within society at large. In order to reach an in-depth understanding of integrative and violent forms of interaction in the region of the Upper Guinea Coast, authors take into account the impact and repercussions of specific historical experiences as well as the continuities and changes of social patterns affected by the interaction of local and globalized values, institutions, and models of social organization. Rather than providing an(other) analysis of wars and violence as such, contributors aim at a better understanding of the social mechanisms that affect both the processes of integration and conflict at the local, national and regional levels.

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Biographical Note
Jacqueline Knörr (PhD 1994, Bayreuth; Habilitation 2006, Halle/Saale) is an anthropologist and head of the research group “Integration and Conflict along the Upper Guinea Coast” at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale, Germany. She has done extensive field research in West Africa, Indonesia and Germany and has published widely on identity in postcolonial contexts, creolization and creoleness, childhood and migration, initiation and identity, and on expatriate communities. Regionally her research focusses on West Africa, Indonesia and Germany

Wilson Trajano Filho (PhD 1998, University of Pennsylvania) is Associate Professor at the Department of Anthropology at the University of Brasilia in Brasil. His research concentrates on processes of creolization, the role of creole groups in nation-building, the history of (Portuguese) colonialism and popular culture in Africa and Brazil. He has published widely on these themes and has conducted extensive field research in Guinea-Bissau, Cape Verde and Sao Tome.
Review Quotes
In: Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute (N.S.) 18:2, 466-510

'.......The chapters (by anthropologists David Berliner, James Fairhead, Christian Højbjerg, William Murphy, Krijn Peters, Ramon Sarró, Susan Shepler, and Elizabeth Tonkin, and historians Stephen Ellis, Bruce Mouser, Peter Mark, and Jodi Tomàs, plus the editors) are individually strong. Important new insights are frequent. Among the highlights on the anthropological side is a splendid essay by Ramon Sarró showing that identity among the
Baga of the coast of Guinea is at any one point in time the product of temporally and spatially variable processes of social incorporation and exclusion. This should be mandatory reading for any manipulator of a ‘large N’ conflict data set inclined to code ‘ethnicity’ as a single variable.
Excellent contributions by the historians include an especially significant chapter by Stephen Ellis on Liberian politics, since it expands and modifies his widely discussed earlier arguments about violence and the occult.
Space excludes further discussion of admirable contributions by Wilson Trajano Filho, Bruce Mouser, Krin Peters, and others, but it is safe to say that no anthropologist or historian interested in modern Africa or armed conflict and violence will want to be without this collection'......

Paul Richards Wageningen University and Research Centre,
Table of contents

List of Maps
List of Contributors

Introduction Jacqueline Knörr & Wilson Trajano Filho

Patrimonial Logic of Centrifugal Forces in the Political History of the Upper Guinea Coast William P. Murphy
Insurrection as Socioeconomic Change: Three Rebellions in Guinea/Sierra Leone in the Eighteenth Century
Bruce Mouser
Kouankan and the Guinea-Liberian Border
James Fairhead
A Saucy Town? Regional Histories of Conflict, Collusion, and Commerce in the Making of a Southeastern
Liberian Polity
Elizabeth Tonkin
‘Traditional’ Jola Peacemaking: From the Perspectives of an Historian and an Anthropologist
Peter Mark & Jordi Tomàs

The Creole Idea of Nation and its Predicaments: The Case of Guinea-Bissau
Wilson Trajano Filho
The Mutual Assimilation of Elites: The Development of Secret Societies in Twentieth Century Liberian Politics
Stephen Ellis
Out of Hiding? Strategies of Empowering the Past in the Reconstruction of Krio Identity
Jacqueline Knörr

Map and Territory: The Politics of Place and Autochthony among Baga Sitem (and their Neighbours)
Ramon Sarró
The Invention of Bulongic Identity (Guinea-Conakry)
David Berliner
Victims and Heroes: Manding Historical Imagination in a Conflict-ridden Border Region (Liberia-Guinea)
Christian K. Højbjerg

Are ‘Child Soldiers’ in Sierra Leone a New Phenomenon?
Susan Shepler
Generating Rebels and Soldiers: On the Socio-Economic Crisis of Rural Youth in Sierra Leone before the War
Krijn Peters

All those interested in processes of integration and conflict, the anthropology and history of Africa, postcolonial societies, and political anthropology.
Index Card
Collection Information