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‘It was Satan that Took the People': The Making of Public Authority in Burkina Faso
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology.
2006 (English)In: Development and Change, ISSN 0012-155X, E-ISSN 1467-7660, Vol. 37, no 4, 779-797 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This article explores the making of public authority through the analysis of one specific master-hunter in Western Burkina Faso and of the cultural and political contexts in which he has emerged as a political actor. Instead of looking at institutions and socio-political structures per se, the article focuses on a powerful but controversial political actor, in order to unpick the intricate networks that he has creatively appropriated in the making of public authority. The master-hunter, whom we will call Kakre, has been breaking state law in order to assert his own authority, but he has also drawn upon state institutions to be recognized as a legitimate political actor. External actors, such as civil servants, politicians and private business entrepreneurs, have consulted him and asserted his public authority. As a political actor Kakre is generally held to be unpredictable, which is one of the reasons for the importance of scrutinizing his public authority. It could even be argued that 'unpredictability' is one of the characteristics that make authority and power compelling. In conclusion, it is suggested that public authority is derived from a combination of different sources of legitimacy and that, therefore, public authority is shaped by the very 'unpredictability' of specific political actors.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 37, no 4, 779-797 p.
National Category
Social Anthropology
Research subject
Cultural Anthropology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-19231ISI: 000240524700006OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-19231DiVA: diva2:47003
Available from: 2006-11-27 Created: 2006-11-27 Last updated: 2016-04-27

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Hagberg, Sten
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