Autonomous Brokers: The Mbëru Gox among the Sénégalais d’Amérique
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The enduring effect of clientelism on Senegal’s political culture is evident in the degree to which this Wolof proverb resonates with so many Senegalese politicians and voters based in the United States. Nevertheless, as with each of the proceeding chapters, political mobilization and accountability among the Sénégalais d’Amérique have been influenced by the distinct socioeconomic context in which the mbëru gox operate within the Senegalese immigrant community. As discussed in chapter 1, the term mbëru gox (neighborhood wrestlers in Wolof) refers to local opinion leaders who Dakar-based politicians rely on to mobilize political support. In contrast with the different forms of brokering observed in the preceding three chapters, the mbëru gox in the United States are not as dependent on the state to maintain their social status or to gain access to material resources. Their high level of autonomy from political patrons, however, is mirrored by their limited social authority. This dual autonomy of local brokers from politicians and the local electorate thus has limited the mbëru gox’s capacity to broker political support among the Sénégalais d’Amérique.
KeywordsPresidential Election Political Support Immigrant Community Electoral Politics Social Authority
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