By Andrew Apter
Even inside of anthropology, a self-discipline that strives to beat misrepresentations of peoples and cultures, colonialist depictions of the so-called darkish Continent run deep. The grand narratives, tribal tropes, distorted pictures, and “natural” histories that cast the principles of discourse approximately Africa stay firmly entrenched. In past phrases, Andrew Apter explores how anthropology can come to phrases with the “colonial library” and start to enhance an ethnographic perform that transcends the politics of Africa’s imperial past.The means out of the colonial library, Apter argues, is by way of hearing serious discourses in Africa that reframe the social and political contexts within which they're embedded. Apter develops a version of severe corporation, concentrating on numerous language genres in Africa located in rituals that remodel sociopolitical family through self-consciously deploying the ability of language itself. to wreck the cycle of Western illusions in discursive buildings of Africa, he exhibits, we needs to take heed to African voices in ways in which are culturally and in the community knowledgeable. In doing so, Apter brings forth what can provide to be a strong and influential conception in modern anthropology.
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Extra info for Beyond Words: Discourse and Critical Agency in Africa
1m 1 i>)(>i, 67«) glosses yeyeas "mother," my assistants in Ayede insisted n. i- on "grandmother," emphasizing women beyond their childhcaring years. ioodwin iyv-. is unmarked throughout the text. special reference to the essay by Hanks (19921. i. CHAPTER FOUR DISCOURSE AND ITS DISCLOSURES 73 former royal lineage of lye, and its Oroyeye cult took an active role in protecting the kingship from outside claims. The late Michael B. Ayeni, who served as the magistrate of Ayede's first customary court under the British and became a recognized authority on lye history, told of a struggle before the rise of Eshubiyi, when three factions sought to rotate the kingship between three additional lineages: Abudo of Owaiye quarter, Uaa of Isaoye quarter, and llesi of Ejigbo quarter.
The separation and recombination of the king and his office is further represented by the sequence of praise-dispraise-praise that marks the ritual's processual form. Praise validates the authority of the king by fusing, so to speak, the attributes of his person with the values of high office. Dispraise, within the symbolic scheme sketched so far, marks, by way of a contrast, the separation of the king from his office. As an illocutionary act, a behabitive (Austin 1962,152) to be precise, it blatantly denies the formal authority of high office, addressing instead the king's person in familiar, disrespectful, even obscene terms.
The king is stripped of official dress, indeed of all clothing, and his body "darkened," made potent and dangerous with medicines. In this condition the king is anomalous: betwixt and between agricultural seasons, outside his office, set apart from his people, he emerges as Silo, a monster of liminal status, the incarnation of raw, uncontrolled power. Even his dance follows no regular form but is wild and improvised. This power is dangerous because it is unregulated by the office of kingship. The semantic opposition between the king's person and his office becomes loaded with associations: at the point of maximum separation, when the king is a monster, darkened, and the year is at its turning point, the king represents power, his ;.
Beyond Words: Discourse and Critical Agency in Africa by Andrew Apter