Sub-Saharan Africa: Specificity of the Ethnic Socio-Political...

CHAPTER 2. Sub-Saharan Africa: the Specificity of the Ethnic Socio-Political Structure

Even because of necessity, a brief, superficial acquaintance with each of the countries of non-Arab Africa, more precisely, with the young independent states that have arisen here after decolonization, immediately brings to the fore many issues of social, political, economic, ethnic and other character. Sub-Saharan Africa in this sense is a tightly drawn bundle of problems, the analysis of each of which is essential for assessing the situation as a whole.

2.1. Backwardness of the social structure

Social problems should be brought to the forefront not only because they are most significant, but also because the social and civilizational backwardness, as already mentioned in the previous part of the volume, lies in the foundation of modern Africa, being the main the cause of all its other problems, above all the complexities of its independent existence and development. Sub-Saharan Africa, unlike most Asian countries and even the northern Arab part of the same Africa, was, in the recent past, and to a large extent still remains the ocean of semi-preeminence, sometimes even complete primitiveness. In any case, it is a sea of ​​ethnic communities, many of which, having become part of independent political entities, modern states, members of the UN, have not yet reached the level of a structured tribe in their development. sustainable protostate pedigree education led by the leader. Only a few regions, mainly due to transit trade and external influences, formed proto-and early state structures of a slightly higher level. But they, as a rule, were fragile and existed, with rare exceptions, not too long. Exceptions include, for example, Ethiopia, although reservations are also required here.

The reason for such a significant socio-political backwardness, too, was specifically discussed. Here it is necessary to consider in more detail the forms of the social structure, for it is they who determine much of what is characteristic of modern Africa. The basis of the social organization of its native population was, as elsewhere, the family and community. But both have always been entangled in a huge number of other social ties, beginning with the clan and ending with the national, gender (male unions), age (age classes), etc. Among them, the clan ties, which united groups of families related to a certain, mostly male, line, as well as patronage-client relations, were playing a leading role among them.

All such ties in the context of the usual patriarchal-primitive life served an important cause of the stability of society. They were an element of the general culture of relations, regulated these relations and ensured their stable existence and reproduction. Every born person from childhood knew his place in this not so complicated social network, which arose as a result of the interweaving of connections of various types. And since the mentioned network was practically the only, familiar individual, because the administrative and political system in the overwhelming majority of African societies simply did not exist (its functions were fulfilled, and quite successfully, the network of social ties), it is not surprising that the cultural stereotype and mentality.

The above-mentioned social ties and their entire network as a whole were not only signs that indicated the place of everyone in the system of relationships. And it's not just a matter of whom to marry or marry, from whom to wait for help in the event of trouble, with whom to unite first in time of danger, etc. The importance of the social network is broader and more weighty. It seemed to permanently fix the place of everyone among their . In practice, this meant that it was impossible to get away from one's own, that each and every one always and under all circumstances depends on their own and are connected with them by a set of rigidly fixed by the standard of threads. Good or bad is a pointless question. This kind of connection is born of the conditions of primitive structure and is a fact of being, an indestructible and indisputable tradition, peculiar not only for Africans.

These links have already been discussed in the first volume, where an analysis was given to ancient societies. But there the accent was not made there, because relations of the type described, gradually transforming under the influence of the dynamics of political and economic development, were usually gradually and harmoniously harmoniously renewed throughout the centuries, and then replaced by a somewhat different type of link that was more or less developed state. Thus, they lost their original meaning, finding a different form - the form of social corporations (community, clan, sect, shop, community, caste, etc.), the place of which was applied specifically to the traditional Eastern society. Not that in Tropical Africa.

There are no developed societies and strong states here, and therefore there were no social corporations that cooperated with the authorities. More precisely, these corporations or their potential embryos actually intertwined in the social network in question, which performed the functions of corporations and administrative and political power simultaneously. But the main difference between the social network typical for Africans is precisely what determines its backwardness. It is indifferent to any superfluous political administrative relations and clearly fixes the inviolability of the principle, first of all among its own and for its own.

It would seem that there is something special ?! Moreover, something of the kind can be found in many nations of the world - it is enough to recall, for example, the mountaineers of the Caucasus and many Asian countries. But there is still something special, including the degree of strength of this social network, which gives many points ahead even to the welded tradition of blood feuding to the social obligations of the Caucasian mountaineers. This is especially the role played in the Tropical Africa patronage-client relations, , in principle, are well known to many other nations.

o Generally, client-client relationships are based on classic reciprocal links. But, being included in a complex social network of mutual obligations, they acquire new and more rigid outlines of permanent relationships between older and different categories of younger ones.

The elder in terms of age, social position, account in the kinship system automatically turns out to be more prosperous, and has authority among those around him, and ultimately, the bearer of any power. In the process of tribalization of primitive ethnic communities, the elders become leaders and kings, heads of tribes. But far from always followed the formation of state administrative and political ties. Very often, their alternative in the African early political structures turned out to be precisely the traditional patron-client relations included in the familiar social network.

The essence of the relationship in question comes down to the fact that within this social structure everyone has a strictly defined niche , due to many rigidly fixed parameters. In accordance with its niche, it has the right to a strictly defined share of the cumulative public pie. All this practice has evolved over centuries, is consecrated by tradition and therefore very strong, is fixed in the minds of Africans by harsh sociopsychological stereotypes, sometimes provided with indestructible taboos. It is necessary to live and it is possible only and just so, and not otherwise. This is the essence of stereotypes. And they, naturally, can not but exert their influence on life's realities. It becomes especially clear when it comes to clashes between one's interests and others. Such clashes in modern Africa south of the Sahara occur at every step. They are omnipresent and are an integral part of almost the entire tropical subcontinent. Suffice it to recall the number of tribes and tribal groups that live in its vast territories and from a whimsical conglomerate of which, at the whim of fate, all modern African states are composed. This brings us to the problems of ethnicity.

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