Accepted paper:

A micro-analysis approach of the democratic process in Mauritania through the example of political participation of subordinated groups.


Olivier Leservoisier (Lyon II)

Paper short abstract:

Through the case of slave descendants in the Haalpulaar society, we will see how an attention must be paid to the study of social categories and the democratic process. In this way we can go beyond an institutional approach of politics and take into account another reading of social stratification.

Paper long abstract:

As elsewhere in Africa, the context of democracy and decentralisation in Mauritania is marked by the overlapping of different chains of responsibility and several political logics. At the same time, the influence of external power and the intervention of a multitude of actors (migrants, NGOs, youth associations, the administration and new elected representatives in municipalities) create a diversification of local power which favours social renegotiation. In this context, democratic reform and decentralisation have allowed access — not without difficulty — to posts of responsibility for groups of servile origin. Nevertheless this access to posts of responsibility is not just the result of democratic voting, and we should not overestimated it. In fact, we can justly appreciate the political advance of groups of servile origin if we take into account the different resistances to discriminations in other fields of social life. In this perspective, it is important to carry on using a micro social approach. Without trying to pit local scale to a global one, this is the best way to restitute the social changes and the overlapping of actors and legitimacies. This is also the condition to render political historicity and to show how subordinated group's experience can change our understanding of the impact of democratic process.

panel W083
Social interaction, shifting scales of analysis and anthropological theory. Interaction sociale, jeux d'échelles analytiques et théorie anthropologique. atelier bilingue / bilingual workshop