5725 - Shifting leadership legitimation : from heredity to election among the Kali'na (French Guyana)

In the coastal French Guiana, the changes that the Kali’na communities have experienced since they have been integrated in the French nation have resulted in new political patterns, linked with broader political spaces – regional (guianese), national and global. For the natives, politics represents now an increasingly diversified and autonomous field, a local form of the general process of transformation of Amazonian political systems under the effect of their historical confrontation with the white world, what M. Brown called “the disembedding of social systems”. Among these changes, one can observe the ongoing emergence of new forms of political leadership in the villages, shifting from the conventional model of the amazonian leader to election processes, in the large and modern kali'na villages gathering many families. However, these leaders do not break completely with the representations on which is built a socius Kalina: how do these current forms of politics, which are part of newer and larger worlds, also take place in continuity with the traditional schemes of indigenous polities ? What symbolic and practical strategies do these new « Janus » leaders mobilize to face these two worlds, and to consolidate their status in both referentials ?

Keywords: leadership, elections, legitimation and representativity.

Author: COLLOMB, Gerard (CNRS (Paris), France / Frankreich)


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