Harlem City and the Ancestral Village: Youth and the Politics of Culture Today

Sarró Ramon

in The Politics of Religious Change on the Upper Guinea Coast

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780748635153
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653003 | DOI:
Harlem City and the Ancestral Village: Youth and the Politics of Culture Today

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This chapter introduces another group of stakeholders: the youths the author lived with in the 1990s, when Guinea was experiencing important political changes. It was a time of decentralisation and democratisation, and Baga were claiming their place in the second (1984–94) and third (1994–) republics (both with Lansana Conté as president). The chapter argues that cultural destruction does not occur as readily as some ‘pessimistic’ analysts have thought. In the 1940s and 1950s, youths and children used their imagination and inventiveness to create their own cults and engage with their elders in struggles and appropriations. Today’s children are not that different from children of the past: they also like to invent things, and they too have to come to terms with their elders’ authority and power. But despite the structural similarities, today’s generational dynamics could not explain much in themselves.

Keywords: youths; Guinea; political change; decentralisation; democratisation; Baga

Chapter.  10343 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: African Studies

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