France entered the North African world in 1830. Its overt political role there ended in 1962. The interpenetration of cultures and languages which resulted from the colonial conquest has not ended yet. No doubt a time will come when an intellectual balance sheet of this epoch comes to be drawn up. When this is done, Robert Montagne’s name will head the list of those Frenchmen who have made a study of Berber society. The brilliance of his ideas, the thoroughness and perceptiveness of his documentation, the range of his historical and comparative vision, and (a trait not always found in scholarly writing on North Africa) the simplicity and vigour of his style, all help to make plain that we have here a social thinker and observer of the very first rank, and one who deserves to be far better known outside the French-speaking world than he is at present.
Table of Contents
Preface, Notes on Translation and Transcription, Introduction, Introduction to the 1931 Edition by its Editors, Chapter I: Berber Society in the Maghreb and the Formation of the Sherifian Empire, Chapter II: The Social Structure of States and their Alliances in War and Peace, Chapter III: Political and Economic Organisation, Chapter IV: The Origins and Development of Power among Temporal Leaders, Chapter V: The Transformation of Berber Society, Conclusion, Glossary of Arabic and Berber terms, Bibliography