Area Handbook for Ivory Coast

By T. D. Roberts; Donald M. Bouton et al. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 6
SOCIAL STRUCTURE

The colonial regime created a fundamental change in the social structures in which the peoples of the Ivory Coast live. Formerly, the essential framework of their lives was a tribal system, the effective scope of which might be only a village coincident with a lineage, as among some of the southwest forest peoples, or a hierarchical kingdom extending over a larger area, as among the Agni of Sanwi or the Dioula of Kong. These systems were not stable. There was much movement of peoples, infiltration, and conquest, which was constantly changing not only the status of individuals but the very structure of tribes. The northern area of. the Ivory Coast was undergoing a period of particular turmoil because of the campaigns of Samory Touré, at the time of French conquest. One major urban area, Kong, the center of a social system, was in fact totally destroyed as a consequence of these campaigns.

Nevertheless, it can be said that until the time of French colonial rule, the Africans of the Ivory Coast lived in societies which they took for granted and in which existing social structures were justified by their traditional character. The rewards and sanctions most important to most individuals were effected within these tribal societies. The rank the individual had was more or less hereditary, although some provisions for mobility existed. Of course, these societies differed in the degree to which ranks existed. Some, governed by old men, were essentially egalitarian except for the deference and authority given to elders. Others were highly, often rigidly, stratified with nobility, commoners, slaves and occupational castes.

French rule, however, created a new social structure, territorial in nature, which was superimposed upon the various tribal structures. The colonial system had its own rewards and sanctions, its own ranks, its own paths to mobility, its own style of life. Furthermore, the territorial structure, although weak at first in the degree to which the majority assumed its values and paid allegiance to its norms, was stronger in both the rewards and the sanctions it could offer, insofar as its ruler wished to offer them.

Situations of this kind, where two tiers of social structures exist in semicompetition with each other but one stronger than the other in sheer power, offer a classic problem of both uncertainty and conflict on the one hand and opportunity and maneuverability on the other to the individuals who find themselves within them. Such has been the

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Area Handbook for Ivory Coast
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Foreword iii
  • Table of Contents v
  • Preface to the Second Edition ix
  • Country Summary xi
  • Summary of Events: January 1963--December 1972 xv
  • Bibliography lvii
  • Preface to the First Edition lxv
  • Section I. Sociological Background 1
  • Chapter 1 General Character of the Society 1
  • Chapter 2 Historical Setting 7
  • Chapter 3 Geography and Population 29
  • Chapter 4 Ethnic Groups and Languages 55
  • Chapter 5 Family 79
  • Chapter 6 Social Structure 95
  • Chapter 7 Education and Intellectual Expression 111
  • Chapter 8 Religion 131
  • Chapter 9 Artistic Expression 145
  • Chapter 10 Health and Welfare 155
  • Chapter 11 Social Values and Patterns of Living 169
  • Bibliography 179
  • Section II. Political Background 189
  • Chapter 12 Constitution and Government 189
  • Chapter 13 Political Dynamics 213
  • Chapter 14 Foreign Policy 231
  • Chapter 15 Information and Propaganda 251
  • Chapter 16 Attitudes and Reactions of the People 265
  • Bibliography 273
  • Section III. Economic Background 283
  • Chapter 17 Character and Structure of the Economy 283
  • Chapter 18 Agriculture 289
  • Chapter 19 Industry 309
  • Chapter 20 Labor 331
  • Chapter 21 Domestic and Foreign Trade 349
  • Chapter 22 Financial System 367
  • Bibliography 387
  • Section IV. National Security 395
  • Chapter 23 Public Order and Internal Security 395
  • Chapter 24 the Armed Forces 411
  • Bibliography 427
  • Glossary 431
  • Index 437
  • Published Area Handbooks 449
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