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The Mutual Assimilation Of Elites: The Development Of Secret Societies In Twentieth Century Liberian Politics

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Chapter Summary

The territory that became internationally recognized as the Republic of Liberia from 1847 appears to have a long history of initiation societies that predates the modern state. The most famous such society is the men's society, Poro, that has been widespread in the north of the country since before the republican period. Initiation societies were used by politicians and officials of the Republic of Liberia during the twentieth century as part of the apparatus of indirect rule, both formally and informally, and had a demonstrable effect on both the style and the institutional development of the Republic. The Upper Guinea Coast contains a number of distinct communities that have only a relatively recent history of bureaucratic governance, and of its close associate, the use of writing for administrative purposes.

Keywords: bureaucratic governance; Republic of Liberia; Upper Guinea Coast



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