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(Re)creating the community: The use of customary authority to resolve the Casamance conflict in Senegal

Author(s): Linda J. Beck | Vincent Foucher

Journal: Revista CIDOB d'Afers Internacionals
ISSN 1133-6595

Issue: 87;
Start page: 95;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Senegal | Casamance | tradition | traditional authorities | conflict resolution

Customary approaches have made important contributions to efforts to resolve the decades-old Casamance conflict, though not always in the way intended or claimed by their proponents or outside observers. In this paper, three customary approaches are discussed: highly localised efforts by customary leaders or institutions (for instance, the Jola-Huluf king); attempts to utilise or expand their authority (Usana priestesses); and efforts to (re)invent a mythic-history as a customary basis for a harmonious community (the Association Culturelle Aguène-Diambogne). By offering a mixed assessment as to the extent to which these approaches succeeded in promoting conflict resolution in Casamance, we analyse the contexts in which customary approaches can promote peace, while arguing that they are more likely to complement conventional forms of conflict resolution than constitute an alternative to them.
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