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Les métamorphoses urbaines d'un "double" villageois (Urban Metamorphosis of a 'Wraith' Village)

Jean-Pierre Dozon
Cahiers d'Études Africaines
Vol. 21, Cahier 81/83, Villes africaines au microscope (1981), pp. 389-403
Published by: EHESS
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4391750
Page Count: 15
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Les métamorphoses urbaines d'un "double" villageois (Urban Metamorphosis of a 'Wraith' Village)
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Abstract

A strange narrative describing in terms of witchcraft and supernatural concepts the metamorphosis into a city-state of a Bete village (mid-western Ivory Coast). A brief definition of some of these concepts, especially that of 'wraith' or 'double', is necessary in order to understand that this narrative, far from betraying an escape into the realm of phantasmatic imagination, does in fact shed a metaphoric light on the underlying dynamics of village life. Objective data relating to rural exodus, back-and-forth movements between town and village, investment in the school system, and strategies of social mobility orientated mainly toward the state apparatus tend to delineate a new reality. The village no longer pertains to rural patterns but rather shows a trend toward dissolution within the attraction spheres of Eburnean society, i.e. towns (chiefly Abidjan) and state. In dreamlike fashion the narrative operates a condensation of facts observable in real life (emigration, school attendance) in a kind of wish-fulfillment which constitutes a privileged approach.

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