MANIFESTATION OF AGGRESSION AND THE PROCESS OF MEDIATION IN THE SOCIAL TRAINING OF THE WOLOF CHILD (SENEGAL)
This article attempts to analyse ways of expressing and controlling aggression among the Wolof by examining the methods and forms applied to young children. Three terms seem to be characteristic of the expression of aggression: avoidance, mediation, and persecution. The avoidance of a direct expression of aggression and the systematic recourse to a mediator gives a socialized form to the aggressive message, while the projection and inversion of aggressive fantasies may take the form of persecution.
The author cites examples of children and emphasizes the importance of mediation in the process of social training in general and in channelling the aggressive fantasies in particular. Various situations are analysed in which an adult ‘moderator’ indicates how a child should reply to an adult or to an older ‘aggressor’. The response suggested acts as a reminder of the iaws of exchange, by which each person is fixed in the place which he occupies in the generational hierarchy.
All misfortune, loss, or illness, anything, above all, which threatens a rupture of the social ties as does aggression, becomes by a fundamental reversal the means of reconstituting or strengthening established social ties.