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Cultural power, ritual symbolism and human rights violations in Sierra Leone
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Cultural Sciences. (Centre for Concurrences in Colonial and Postcolonial Studies)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4505-1683
University of Bayreuth, Germany.
2017 (English)In: Cogent Social Science, ISSN 2331-1886, 1-27 p., 1295549Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This paper explores the links between the socio-cultural power structures of the Poro and Bondo secret societies and their interactions with internationalist human rights discourse in postconflict Sierra Leone. It argues that these secret societies offer gendered and cultural spaces that serve as social and political mobilizing symbols. These societies further provide forums as well as a stage for counter-discourses about gender-based violence and human rights violations, particularly with regards to the campaign against female circumcision. The paper concludes that despite internal tensions and squabbles, the Bondo secret societiy has gained most of its present-day solidarity by broadly disseminating to both members and non-members the highly charged narrative that the society’s exposure leads to its destruction. The Bondo society has been able to maintain cohesion and defend its interests by appropriating and invoking traditional knowledge and ritual codes.This paper explores the links between the socio-cultural power structures of the Poro and Bondo secret societies and their interactions with internationalist human rights discourse in postconflict Sierra Leone. It argues that these secret societies offer gendered and cultural spaces that serve as social and political mobilizing symbols. These societies further provide forums as well as a stage for counter-discourses about gender-based violence and human rights violations, particularly with regards to the campaign against female circumcision. The paper concludes that despite internal tensions and squabbles, the Bondo secret societiy has gained most of its present-day solidarity by broadly disseminating to both members and non-members the highly charged narrative that the society’s exposure leads to its destruction. The Bondo society has been able to maintain cohesion and defend its interests by appropriating and invoking traditional knowledge and ritual codes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
United Kingdom: Taylor & Francis Group, 2017. 1-27 p., 1295549
Keyword [en]
postconflict, secret society, female circumcision, tradition, modernity
National Category
Political Science
Research subject
Computer and Information Sciences Computer Science, Media Technology; Economy, Cultural Economy; Social Sciences, Gender Studies; Social Sciences, Political Science; Social Sciences, Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-61718DOI: 10.1080/23311886.2017.1295549OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-61718DiVA: diva2:1084605
Available from: 2017-03-26 Created: 2017-03-26 Last updated: 2017-03-28Bibliographically approved

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