City of God, city of women: Ethnography of everyday life in the holy city of Touba, Senegal
AbstractThe holy city of Touba, Senegal, is a Sufi caliphate governed by the murid brotherhood. The founder’s clan, C. A. Bamba Mbacké, established a political and religious system that revolves around numerous marabuttic lineages, specific ritual institutions as well as an intense economic activity that makes Touba the second largest and most dynamic city in the country. The great narratives and spaces of worship of this imposing spiritual metropolis return the image of a city designed and dominated by its religious guides. An ethnography of the everyday life resizes the centrality of the social and cultic pact on which their power is based and on which all the historical-anthropological studies dedicated to the brotherhood have been concentrated. Such ethnography shows all the importance of the houses and the households of the marabouts in the life of the city and of the networks that weave outside its walls. Understood as real homelands, beyond the religious representations, these contexts reveal a surprising and irreducible protagonism of women in the making and transformation of landscapes and bonds that make up the very infrastructure of this city of God.
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