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GHANA STUDIES / Volume 14 ISSN 1536-5514 / E-ISSN 2333-7168© 2012 by the Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System 1 EDITORS’ NOTE We are pleased to present you with Ghana Studies 14. Its production has taken longer than anticipated due to staff changes at our publisher . Also, some articles needed more time. Still, we are happy with the outcome of this issue and hope you will enjoy reading the contributions that cover a variety of subjects: Ghana’s pre-colonial history; politics and nationhood; children, women, and work; and same-sex intimacies. Section one contains the article by historian Mariano Pavanello who revisits Ivor Wilks’s “big bang” theory on the origins of Akan states. Accordingly , in the fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Ofin and Pra basin, a shift in production from foraging to forest agriculture led to the emergence of the Akan states with stools as symbols of political authority. Slave labor, used for cultivation and mining, was absorbed into a new kinship structure that took the form of matriclans. Subsequently the practice of free men’s marriages with purchased or pawned women led to the formation of subordinated matrilineages. The abusua understood as matriclan lost its function and was replaced by the smaller and more flexible abusua understood as matrilineage. Archeologists have challenged Wilks’s theory by pointing out that agricultural communities had settled in the forest region prior to the opening of the Atlantic trade in the fifteenth century. Contributing to this critique, Pavanello explores the historical implications of the wide-spread practice of cross-cousin marriage and the assimilation of its meaning to marriages with slave women. Examining linguistic evidence from Akan groups, he points out that both types of marriage are labeled as “marriage in the house.” Pavanello argues that this is not merely a linguistic coincidence but reflects the historical process that created basic features of Akan 2 Ghana Studies • volume 14 • 2012 sociopolitical organization. An analysis of Akan kinship terminologies suggests that cross-cousin marriage is a more ancient practice than marriage with a slave, and that the assimilation of the latter to the former happened before the political and economic development of the forest region in the sixteenth century. This also points to greater antiquity of matriclans. A terminology in which cross-cousin marriage was adjusted to the needs of marriage with subordinate women only emerged in the seventeenth century. The second section, shifting to a more recent period, focuses on politics in contemporary Ghana. Anthropologist Wyatt MacGaffey explores the factors that provoked political violence in Tamale following the 2008 elections . He argues that violence arose from unfulfilled expectations held by lower ranks of the winning National Democratic Congress (NDC). The NDC youth anticipated that the newly elected president and his party would extend patronage towards their supporters. Tamale’s political violence has links to Yendi, the capital of the pre-colonial kingdom of Dagbon, which is deeply divided between the Abudu and Adani branches of the royal family . The former are generally allied with the New Patriotic Party (NPP), the latter with the NDC. After the 2008 elections, the Adanis hoped the new government would punish the killers of Ya Na Yakubu, the Dagbon king assassinated in 2002. Yet in 2011, when fourteen suspects were acquitted, the disappointed Adani youth burned NDC offices in Tamale. Youth clubs tend to support either Abudus or the Adanis and rally for the respective party. Should their party win an election, the youth expects to be rewarded with jobs. In Tamale, political youth violence is related to a competition for resources and the hope for social mobility. This is nurtured by the practice that securing an elected office correlates with an entry into a middle-class life style. While successful politicians as local big men show off their Editors’ Note 3 importance through conspicuous consumption, they are also expected to share their wealth with constituents. For MacGaffey, youth leaders advocating simplistic and violent remedies of systemic underdevelopment and inequity are not the source of political instability but rather its symptom. As long as politicians keep making promises they cannot keep, Ghana’s political stability will remain precarious. Political scientist Richard Asante takes...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2333-7168
Print ISSN
1536-5514
Pages
pp. 1-9
Launched on MUSE
2020-02-05
Open Access
No
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