Masquerade of Migration

Ferdinand de Jong

in Masquerades of Modernity

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780748633197
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748670642 | DOI:
Masquerade of Migration

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The Kumpo masquerade is one of the cultural traditions of the Casamance region that is regularly performed in a variety of settings. In many Jola villages, Kumpo is performed by the Kumpo secret society at the village square. However, the Kumpo is today also performed at cultural festivals and hotels, for audiences quite different from those in the villages. The troupes that perform the masquerade in these settings are paid for their performance, which is thus commodified. By focusing on the Kumpo masquerade, this chapter describes the divergent trajectories of a masquerade. It proposes a narrative, one in which the cultural practices accommodate to the global market economy. It shows how the meaning of the mask and the modalities of masking depend on the context of performance as it is shaped by, and as it shapes, the impact of the market economy. It demonstrates that performances of secrecy do not necessarily disintegrate as a result of the incorporation in the market economy. Rather, a part of the population uses the performance to reinforce their successful participation in that economy.

Keywords: Kumpo masquerade; Casamance region; global market economy; cultural traditions; masquerade

Chapter.  6896 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: African Studies

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