The Dankun Network: the donso hunters of Burkina Faso between ecological change and new associations

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Abstract

In this text I look at processes of transformation involving an initiatory society of hunters known in parts of West Africa as donsoya. In countries like Mali, Ivory Coast and Burkina Faso restrictive environmental policies drew donso hunters into state-recognised associations, a phenomenon that has massively transformed donsoya in the past 25 years. Ecological change implied the disappearance of the big animals that gave master hunters their prestige and role of meat providers. I take the example of western Burkina Faso to look at the complex interactions between ecology, the internal structures of donsoya and the diffusion of a cult imported from neighbouring countries. Through a reflexive account of my own initiation to donsoya I show how hunters, in parallel with the emergence of associations, adopted ritual forms that emphasise relationships with other hunters, and argue how these changes show the interrelatedness of ecology, ritual and politics in today’s donsoya.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-96
JournalJournal of Contemporary African Studies
Volume34
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2016

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