History at one point in time: “Working together” in Bola, 1975

Donald L. Donham

in History, Power, Ideology

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 1999 | ISBN: 9780520213371
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520920798 | DOI:
History at one point in time: “Working together” in Bola, 1975

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Any social moment is a complex intertwining of processes. With the analysis of the interaction of these processes—particularly as they relate to the balance of power between social groups—Marxism finally comes to terms with history. If epochal structures do not deal with temporal complexities, neither do they examine spatial ones. And just as Raymond Williams's time categories are necessary in making the transition to historical analysis, a similar conceptualization of space—with respect to power—is required. This chapter connects social theory with history, focusing on the Maale vicinity, and examines the constitution of local factions in Bola to find out what determined a household's membership in one versus another. Interestingly, the principal definition of community in Bola involved communal labor—who worked with whom. “Working together,” wolla soofane, was a phrase that Maale everywhere used to describe and to make claims about fundamental sorts of political solidarity. In Maale, there are three types of arrangements in which persons combine to work cooperatively: helma, mol'o, and dabo.

Keywords: Bola; Maale; social theory; history; space; power; communal labor; helma; mol'o; dabo

Chapter.  15838 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative and Historical Sociology

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