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Those seeking power are among us: decentralisation, political transformation and traditional authorities in the Inner Niger Delta (Mali)

Doctoral thesis (PhD), Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgique), Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), 2014
Marie Deridder
p. 192-193
Cet article est une traduction de :
Ceux qui cherchent le pouvoir sont parmi nous. Décentralisation, transformations du politique et autorités traditionnelles dans le Delta intérieur du fleuve Niger (Mali)

Notes de la rédaction

The author provides an abstract of his doctoral thesis

Texte intégral

1This thesis is an empirical study of the changes resulting from decentralisation and democratisation processes that Youwarou, a small rural town in the Inner Niger Delta in Mali, has experienced over the last decade. At the beginning of the nineties, Mali has undertaken the decentralization of the state, a huge administrative reform. Officially, it was presented as an ideal tool which would bring development and democratisation at the local level via the multiparty game and local elections. Based on the voluntary villages’ gathering, Mali has established three decentralized levels of authority: regions, circles and municipalities. The implementation of the main phases of this reform has widely relied on the leaders and the local powers. Furthermore, the decentralization has quickly been understood as being an opportunity to restore the ancient order and to relegitimize the “traditional powers”. Although few studied in rural areas, the municipal elections and the electoral processes are at the moment among one of the most visible aspects of this reform for the local actors and concern directly the exercise of power. Punctuated with three local elections, a decade has passed since the creation of the Malian municipalities.

2This research focus on the transformation of the rules of the game of politics in the small arena of Youwarou and highlights stakes of the present-day decentralisation in Mali. From a diachronic perspective, it describes the emergence of new norms, actors, legitimacies and powers stemming from the decentralisation and the adoption of the multi-party system and their articulation with the preexisting local authorities and the complex structuration of powers’ units of Youwarou. Making a political anthropology of elite, this thesis analyzes the way “traditional” authorities get involved in municipal elections to reposition themselves, reaffirm and secure their position in this local political arena. It discusses the idea of the progressive constitution of political elite at the local level, its maintenance and its renewal partly because of the municipal elections. It investigates the articulations of the "traditional" authorities and these actors, normative universes, powers stemming from the rules of the democratic game put in practice. It questions the construction and the transformation of the socio-political thinking in Youwarou and takes into account the impact of the natural resources government, one of the keystones of the powers’ repartition between actors and their legitimacy.

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Marie Deridder, « Those seeking power are among us: decentralisation, political transformation and traditional authorities in the Inner Niger Delta (Mali) », Anthropologie & développement, 40-41 | 2014, 192-193.

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Marie Deridder, « Those seeking power are among us: decentralisation, political transformation and traditional authorities in the Inner Niger Delta (Mali) », Anthropologie & développement [En ligne], 40-41 | 2014, mis en ligne le 01 septembre 2016, consulté le 24 juin 2017. URL : http://anthropodev.revues.org/340

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La revue Anthropologie & développement est mise à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International.

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