Dependent Brokers: Tukulor Nobles in Northern Senegal



Since the era of territorial elections under French colonial rule, Senegalese politics has been characterized by both the prominent role of Wolof marabouts, in particular Murid leaders, as political intermediaries and the dominance of the Wolof ethnic group among Senegal’s political elite. Consequently, the withdrawal of marabouts from the political realm and the dramatic decline in Wolof support for the PS discussed in chapter 3 represented a profound transformation in Senegalese politics. As the Wolof represent less than 50 percent of the population, however, the maraboutic model of autonomous brokers does not necessarily apply to other ethno-regional groups. To avoid the common mistake of generalizing Wolof experiences to all Senegalese, the Murid case must be put into a comparative context. The Tukulor ethnic minority in the northern historic region of the Fuuta Tooro in the Senegal River Valley provides an excellent basis for comparison as Tukulor politics centers around caste not religion, which has arguably made Tukulor intermediaries more dependent on their role as political intermediaries with significant consequences for democracy in the region.


Political Power Presidential Election Land Tenure Irrigate Agriculture Political Competition 
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© Linda J. Beck 2008

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