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Aesthetic strategies: the politics of a royal ritual

  • Michelle Gilbert

Résumé

Cet article explore à la fois le sens du “odwira”, le rituel royal qui purifie annuellement la communauté de sa pollution, et la manière par laquelle le rite est utilisé pour négocier les configurations changeantes du pouvoir à Akuropon et dans le royaume d'Akuapem. Dans une petite société où les consensus sont requis en public et les conflits sont régiès en prive, où les rois avaient jadis le pouvoir de faire de leurs adversaires des esclaves et encore aujourd'hui peuvent leur dénier emploi et maison, l'opposition doit être discrète. Les rituels et les symboles sont bons pour faire une déclaration politique car une ambiguité ancrée leur permet d'être un terrain sûr pour une agression politique. Pour cette raison, bien que le rituel de purification du “odwira” soit considéré comme inaltérable dans sa représentation et sa structure symbolique, en pratique la politique explosive de la communauté est aussi reflétée dans les modifications occasionnelles qui sont faites au long precédéxs cérémonial chaque année.

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Abbreviations. BMA, Basel Mission Archives; GNA, Ghana National Archives.
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Africa
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