Ethnicity and the Making of History in Northern Ghana

By Carola Lentz | Go to book overview

1
THE NORTH-WEST IN THE
NINETEENTH CENTURY

In the pre-colonial period, the dominant reality of the Black Volta region was the existence of small, relatively mobile groups of relatives, overlapping networks and flexible boundaries. There was no local ideology, let alone the social and political reality, corresponding to what British colonial administrators later represented as the ideal tribe, that is a population linked by descent, sharing a single language and culture, living in a particular territory and ruled by a council of elders or a chief. The ‘house’ (local kin group as well as supra-local clan) and the earth-shrine area were the cornerstones of local societies and are still meaningful today. They could integrate people of different dialects and languages, and required only some core elements of cultural similarity (recognition of the earth deity, the rights of first settlers, etc.).

However, because the region was never isolated from the greater political developments of the Niger Bend, there were also other types of social boundaries that extended beyond local community ideologies and began to resemble an ‘ethnic’ map. It is in this context that, for instance, the difference between Wala and Dagaba/Dagara must be understood. The distinction marked a religious and political boundary between Wa, as a centre of Islamic learning and state power, and the ‘heathen’, acephalous population of the surrounding area. When the British (and French) incorporated the Black Volta region into their empires and made their first tours of the area, they began to use these ‘ethnic’ names. It is this process of embedding colonial ethnic terms in older nomenclatures which made it seem that the newly delimited groups had historical depth; the continuity of names is thus easily (mis)taken for the continuity of communities themselves.

The ideas that colonial officers, anthropologists and local intellectuals held, and still hold, regarding the indigenous political organisation of the Dagara/Dagaba and their neighbours in the pre-colonial period oscillate between two opposing images: at the one end, that of a segmentary, egalitarian, more or less peaceful decentralised society, and at the other extreme that of peoples that came to develop their own chieftaincies at an early stage. The most prominent representative of the first view is Jack Goody, for whom the ‘LoDagaa’ are the paradigm of a segmentary society,

-14-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Ethnicity and the Making of History in Northern Ghana
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • List of Maps and Plates vi
  • Preface vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - The North-West in the Nineteenth Century 14
  • 2 - The Introduction of Chieftaincy 33
  • 3 - The Discursive Creation of Ethnicity 72
  • 4 - The Lawra Confederacy Native Authority 104
  • 5 - Labour Migration, Home-Ties and Ethnicity 138
  • 6 - ‘Light over the Volta’- The Mission of the White Fathers 153
  • 7 - Decolonisation and Local Government Reform 175
  • 8 - ‘The Time When Politics Came’- Party Politics and Local Conflict 199
  • 9 - Ethnic Movements and Special-Interest Politics 228
  • 10 - The Cultural Work of Ethnicity 252
  • Epilogue 275
  • Notes 280
  • Abbreviations 322
  • Glossary 323
  • Divisional (Paramount) Chiefs of Lawra District 324
  • References 325
  • Index 337
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 346

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.