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12 - Negotiating The Memory Of Fulbe Hierarchy Among Mobile Elite Women

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores the ways in which the social background of migrants and their families inform their agency, identity and behaviour. It considers more specifically the extent to which the ascribed positions in the social hierarchy of Malian Fulbe society are an important means of identification for two migrant women. The broader question is whether, why and how Fulbe social hierarchies are maintained and/or transformed in a context of mobility. When people move, their memories travel too. Their remembering to some extent allows for the conservation of social relations and role models in society. The social organization of Fulbe kingdoms used to be hierarchically organized: each social group was attributed a certain social status that often corresponded to the kinds of activities and/or entitlements to certain professions. None of the 'freeborn' have ever been enslaved: they are considered free and thus subject to codes of honour.

Keywords: Fulbe hierarchy; Malian Fulbe society; social hierarchies



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