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    Unmasking the State: Making Guinea Modern (Hardback) By (author) Mike McGovern

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    DescriptionWhen the Republic of Guinea gained independence in 1958, one of the first policies of the new state was a village-to-village eradication of masks and other ritual objects it deemed "fetishes." The Demystification Program, as it was called, was so urgent it even preceded the building of a national road system. In Unmasking the State, Mike McGovern attempts to understand why this program was so important to the emerging state and examines the complex role it had in creating a unified national identity. In doing so, he tells a dramatic story of cat and mouse where minority groups cling desperately to their important - and outlawed - customs. Primarily focused on the communities in the country's south-eastern rainforest region - people known as Forestiers - the Demystification Program operated via a paradox. At the same time it banned rituals from Forestiers' day-to-day lives, it appropriated them into a state-sponsored program of folklorization. McGovern points to an important purpose for this: by objectifying this polytheistic group's rituals, the state created a viable counter example against which the Muslim majority could define proper modernity. Describing the intertwined relationship between national and local identity making, McGovern showcases the coercive power and the unintended consequences involved when states attempt to engineer culture.

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  • Full bibliographic data for Unmasking the State

    Unmasking the State
    Making Guinea Modern
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Mike McGovern
    Physical properties
    Format: Hardback
    Number of pages: 320
    Width: 155 mm
    Height: 231 mm
    Thickness: 25 mm
    Weight: 522 g
    ISBN 13: 9780226925097
    ISBN 10: 0226925099

    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC E4L: SOC
    BIC time period qualifier V2: 3JJ
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: S3.2
    BIC subject category V2: JHMC
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    BIC subject category V2: HBJH
    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1HFD
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 01
    B&T General Subject: 750
    Libri: I-HP
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 15590
    Ingram Subject Code: HP
    BISAC V2.8: HIS001000
    Ingram Theme: CULT/WAFRIC
    B&T Modifier: Geographic Designator: 09
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 02
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 42
    B&T Merchandise Category: UP
    B&T Modifier: Geographic Designator: 76
    BISAC V2.8: HIS001050, SOC002010
    BIC subject category V2: 3JJ, 1HFD
    DC22: 966.5203, 966.52/03
    LC subject heading:
    LC classification: DT543.8 .M35 2013
    LC subject heading:
    DC23: 966.5203
    Thema V1.0: JHMC, NHH
    Edition statement
    Illustrations note
    12 halftones, 6 maps, 8 tables
    The University of Chicago Press
    Imprint name
    University of Chicago Press
    Publication date
    04 January 2013
    Publication City/Country
    Chicago, IL
    Author Information
    Mike McGovern is assistant professor of anthropology at Yale University. He is the author of Making War in Cote d'Ivoire, also published by the University of Chicago Press.
    Review quote
    "Unmasking the State is an engaging and insightful work that constitutes an important contribution to African studies, political and religious anthropology, and the study of iconoclasm. Mike McGovern artfully weaves an edifying tapestry of the demystification programs launched by Sekou Toure in the 1960s among Loma-speaking people of Guinea, West Africa. This is a well-argued and timely book." (David Berliner, University of Brussels)"