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Inequality in asante: a study of the forms and meanings of slavery and social servitude in pre- and early colonial akan-asante society and culture. (volumes i and ii). Preview this item
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Inequality in asante: a study of the forms and meanings of slavery and social servitude in pre- and early colonial akan-asante society and culture. (volumes i and ii).

Author: ANATOLE NORMAN KLEIN
Publisher: 1980, ©1981.
Dissertation: Ph. D. University of Michigan
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript : Microfilm   Archival Material : English
Summary:
Inequality in Asante is a study of how a wide range of forms of social domination operated, and were interpreted by Akan peoples during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is based on a wide range of documentary source materials including private correspondence, published and unpublished official documents, published and unpublished journals and diaries, and the more recent work of historians and social
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Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript
Document Type: Book, Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: ANATOLE NORMAN KLEIN
OCLC Number: 68290388
Description: 494 pages
More information:

Abstract:

Inequality in Asante is a study of how a wide range of forms of social domination operated, and were interpreted by Akan peoples during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It is based on a wide range of documentary source materials including private correspondence, published and unpublished official documents, published and unpublished journals and diaries, and the more recent work of historians and social anthropologists.

In the wake of the maritime slave trade, that is, from the seventeenth through the first two decades of the nineteenth centuries, people on the Gold Coast and Asante witnessed the rise to social prominence and positions of political power of a small but conspicious group of newly-rich types and their retinues. Varied consequences of this differentiation of men with new wealth are traced into the beginnings of the colonial period.

The effective suppression of the maritime slave trade by the close of the second decade of the nineteenth century marked a turning point in the developments of patterns of social and economic inequality, especially in Asante. The growth of large-scale plantation slavery around the area of the Asante capital, Kumase, was braked. Henceforward, the spread and intensification of domestic forms of social servitude--"domestic slavery" and pawnage--were accelerated. A major part of the thesis deals with the.

Adjustments made by traditional institutions, ideas and values, as these were affected by the influx of large number of unfree people into traditional Akan households. The primary function of the domestic "slave" or odonko was to reproduce effectively free men and women who were assimilated into the traditional social order.

Assimilating the descendents of unfree outsiders into the web of Akan matrilineal kinship was a complex cultural, historical process. It involved adjusting the customary law of property, so that the personal property rights of freemen and freewomen were extended to so-called "slaves" and their descendents. The protection of the "slave's" property was reinforced by a traditional tabu against questioning any individual's origins. The assimilation in traditional Akan life of the descendents of unfree women.

Was facilitated by the fact that throughout Akan culture the conceptual-linguistic characteristics of property, authority and descent were interchangeable. This property-authority-descent nexus in Akan culture was a key mechanism for rationalizing and conceptualizing the functions, utility and values of "slaves" and their descendants in the traditional order.

The other unfree "domestic" in traditional Akan society was the awowa or pawn. Pawnage embodied the contradictions which arose from the clash between traditional norms and values inherent in Akan matrilineal kinship and the impersonal norms of the market. The practice of pawning formerly free kinsmen and kinswomen also illustrates the contrast between the coercion and force of slave markets--from which the market mechanism and associated values radiated into traditional Akan society and culture--and the.

Voluntary and consensual character of traditional decision making.

Analyzing forms and meanings of social domination in pre- and early colonial Akan-Asante society and culture provides some valuable clues about the character of the political and ethnic differentiation of the Akan peoples during these critical two centuries.

Last, the thesis takes up a review and interpretation of the anthropological and historical sources.

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