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Title: Walking an earthly path : everyday Islam in Bougouni, a town of southwest Mali
Author: Chappatte, Andre
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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Based on 18 months of fieldwork in southwest Mali (October 2008 - April 2010), this study of of rural origin who have moved to build better lives in the fast-growing town of Bougouni, the crossroads of southwest Mali. The thesis explores the importance to them of being both successful and good Muslims in contemporary Mali and stresses the triple Mande-Islamic-French legacy shaping local life in southwest Mali. Moral evaluation of success takes place within contexts that range from the globalisation of commercial circuits, via sub-Saharan regional factors, to local social ethics, status and traditions. Its public character is facilitated by the openness of street life found in urban Mali. Against the background of a liberal and democratic shift (associated with a new freedom of the press and association) and the reinforcement of 'laïcité' brought about by the , forms of public life in the Third Republic of Mali are characterised by outward signs of the practice of a generic Islam which express both piety and mundane success. Wealth and consumption are understood as indexes of social status and of blessing. While the logics of the market have reinforced the links between prosperity and religion, the values of the Mande world are still embodied locally in the exemplary figures of the noble Muslim and the blessed child, and in the tensions between display and intention, as well as in contrasts between daytime activities and night life that connect morality to issues of power, secrecy and occult in Bougouni. For many Malians, this notorious centre of Bamanaya religion remains a marginal place, its inhabitants uncivilised, bad Muslims and expert in occult manipulation. This study of everyday Islam demonstrates that meanings of Muslims life in Bougouni stem from complex interplay between modern forms of distinction and prestige, older (hadamadenya) that occur in southwest Mali.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral