The Quest for Honor and Citizenship in Post-Slavery Borgu (Benin)

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Post-slavery refers here to the legacies of the institution of slavery while old forms of servile condition have mostly disappeared or are waning. In Northern Benin, past inequalities and hierarchies have been reversed in a mere century. What remains today is the heritage of an ideology that is increasingly being contested in a number of forms. The paper explores the heritage of slavery in its cultural, spatial, social, economic, and political dimensions. The author sheds light on the concept of honor that is a central dimension of social and political life in West Africa. In nowadays Benin, Gando peasants take pride in nourrishing a number of noble families and put at stake their honor in ostentatious competition. By doing so, they not only question the central idea that slaves are honorless but enact new conceptions and new practices of citizenship.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of African Historical Studies
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)325-344
Number of pages20
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • honor
  • slavery
  • Benin
  • Citizenship
  • post-slavery

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