Numerous people and institutions helped make possible the research on which this book is based. First, and most important, I want to thank the people of the Ijesa communities, whose insights and hospitality have led to a rich and enjoyable research experience that has continued over many years. Beginning with the Ijesa market women who welcomed me and introduced me to the complexities of their lives in the early 1970s, and continuing through many subsequent visits to Ilesa and surrounding towns and villages, I have been privileged to learn not only about Yoruba culture but also about communities in general. Several people have been especially important in this process: Dr. and Mrs. E. A. Ifaturoti, Justice and Mrs. Kayode Eso, Oba Oladele Olashore, and Professor Bolanle Awe. Others, including Chief A. O. Lamikanra, Dr. Tina Fatiregun, and Mr. and Mrs. Akin Akinola, have assisted me at crucial times in my research. Many others, some of whom are named in the text, helped me to understand aspects of their lives and activities; I am grateful to all.
Colleagues and friends in Ife, Oshogbo, Ibadan, and Lagos all encouraged and assisted me over the years. To Agbo Folarin, Richard Olaniyan, Nike Davies Okundaye, Judith Asuni, Nina Mba, and Nike Afolabi, I say e se pupo (thank you) for all you have done. I am grateful to Bodunde Motoni for his research assistance throughout most of the research period, and to others associated with the Nike Centre for Art and Culture for their help at key points.
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Obafemi Awolowo University provided me with formal affiliation as a visiting professor at the beginning of the research; that affiliation has continued informally in subsequent years. Colleagues in the department have been gracious hosts, and I thank them.
The research was supported by the National Science Foundation (grant BNS-9120584), which not only provided funds for fieldwork but also later