Seminar room and Zoom
Institute of Social Anthropology
Rifle, Quill and Rosary: Political Islam and Processes of Legitimation in Mali
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In my presentation, I take recent political developments in Mali as an entry point for an empirical, historical investigation of political legitimacy in Mali. To do so, I trace the changing ways in which political legitimacy has been constructed by Mali’s successive regimes and governments, and debated and contested by different segments of the population. The paper pays particular attention to the key role of the national army in official invocations of national unity and in their contested reception, arguing that the military, as an institution and as an actual source of political legitimacy, competes with “intellectual power” as the default mode of political legitimacy. In a second step, the paper reconstructs how over the past decades, an idiom of Islamic moral renewal has become an alternative source of political legitimacy. The paper concludes with a discussion of the “fault lines of the nation” revealed in the regionally diverse engagements with the three competing sources of legitimacy.
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