West African City: A Study of Tribal Life in Freetown, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

West African City

A Study of Tribal Life in Freetown, 1st Edition

By Michael Banton


250 pages

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Originally published in 1957 this volume deals with the issue of large scale immigration into Freetown, Sierra Leone from the rural areas in the 1950s and the problems which arose as a result. It analyzes the way traditional social systems had to adjust to the demands of urban life and charts the growth of Freetown from its foundation in the 18th Century. The ethnic composition of its population and the character of the rural districts from which the migrants come are also discussed, along with the motives for migration, the nature of housing and employment.

Table of Contents

Part 1: The Growth of Freetown

1. Tribal Settlements in a Creole City

2. Problems of Administration

Part 2: Internal Migration

3. The Background to Rural Emigration

4. Migration and Employment Part 3: Urban Structure and Tribal Institutions

5. Freetown's Population

6. Ethnic Groups and their Relations

7. Tribal Groups and Religious Alignments

8. Tribal Headmen

9. Young Men's Companies Among the Temne

10. Other Voluntary Associations

11. The Household

12. Summary and Conclusions

Appendices: 1. 'Rules for Alimamies of Alien Tribes in Freetown' Made Between 1888 and 1892

2. Texts of Selected Temne Company Songs

About the Author

Michael Banton was Lecturer, and subsequently Reader, in Social Anthropology, University of Edinburgh, 1954-65, and professor of Sociology, University of Bristol, 1965-92. He was President of the Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland 1987-89, and President of the Sociology section, (1970-71) and the Anthropology section, (1985 - 86) within the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

About the Series

African Ethnographic Studies of the 20th Century

Routledge is delighted to be re-issuing 79 volumes originally published between 1931 and 1988 in association with the International African Institute. Unavailable outside a few key libraries, many of these republished volumes were at the cutting edge of a fieldwork and ethnographic revolution in African anthropology in the decades after 1930. It involved the production of a wide body of fieldwork-based ethnographic documentation about the cultures of the different societies in Africa. Secondly, it saw a methodological turn to intense, localized investigations of cultural tradition and social change in a rapidly modernizing context. These investigations involved a more sustained and systematic, more professional and ‘scientific’ form of immersion and participant observation, than anything that had gone before. The sites of engagement were urban as well as rural; the pioneering researchers were female as well as male. No longer was the journal essay the repository of the latest research in the discipline, but rich ethnographies running into hundreds of pages.

The volumes are supplemented with maps, which will be available to view on https://www.routledge.com/ or available as pdfs from the publishers.


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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies