Local Liberties

  • Sheldon Gellar


Unlike formal local government units established as legal entities by the state, for Tocqueville, local communities and institutions were not necessarily creations of the state, but rooted in nature and found among all peoples regardless of their customs and laws.2 The self-governing institutions found in medieval Europe before the emergence of the centralized monarchies provided the prototype for Tocqueville’s concept of local liberties stressing the freedom of local communities to manage their own affairs and solve common problems.


Local Government Village Community French Colonial Home Village Village Chief 
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Chapter Five Local Liberties

  1. 4.
    Robert T. Gannett, Jr., “Bowling Ninepins in Tocqueville’s Township,” American Political Science Review Vol. 97, No. 1 (February 2003), p. 2. Gannett identifies four different kinds of associations evoked by Tocqueville: permanent associations, political associations, civic associations, and private associations.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 8.
    Emmanuel Ndione et al., Avenir Des Terroirs: La Ressource Humaine (Dakar: Enda-Editions, 1992), pp. 23–28.Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    David Boilat, Esquisses Sénégalaises (Paris: Editions Karthala, 1984), pp. 59–60. The None are considered to be a sub-group of the Serer.Google Scholar
  4. 19.
    Momar-Coumba Diop and Mamadou Diouf, “Pouvoir Central et pouvoir local: la crise de l’institution municipale,” in Sylvy Jaglin and André Dubresson (eds.), Pouvoirs et cités d’Afrique noire. Décentralisation en question (Paris: Karthala, 1993), pp. 1(11–125).Google Scholar
  5. 21.
    Robert DeLavignette, Freedom and Authority in French West Africa (London: Oxford University Press, 1950), p. 75.Google Scholar
  6. 25.
    For more on this phenomenon, see Franck Petiteville, La Coopération Décentralisée: Les Collectivités locales dans la Coopération Nord-Sud (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1995).Google Scholar
  7. 26.
    See Claude Dupuy, “Les Associations Villageoises au Sénégal: Functions Econorniques et Modalités de Financement,” Revue Tiers Monde, Vol. 31, No. 122 (Avril Juin 1990), pp. 351–375.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 27.
    Projects financed by urban migrants were often not well thought out or languished because of poor implementation and lack of maintenance of equipment. Michael C. Lambert, Longing for Exile: Migration and the Making of a Translocal Community in Senegal, West Africa (Portsmouth NH: Heinneman, 2002), pp. 108–116.Google Scholar
  9. 29.
    For an analysis of Halpulaar village associations in the towns and their contributions to their home villages, see Claude Reboul, “Les Associations de Village de laVallée du Fleuve Sénégal,” Revue Tiers Monde Vol. 28, No. 10 (April—June 1987), pp. 435–440.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 31.
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  11. 32.
    For the growth of Touba, see Cheikh Guèye, “Touba: les marabouts urbanisants,” in Monique Bertrand and Alain Durbresson (eds.), Petites et Moyennes Villes d’Afrique Noire (Paris: Karthala, 1997), pp. 179–203.Google Scholar
  12. 35.
    See, for example, Leonardo A. Villalôn, Islamic Society and State Power in Senegal: Disciples and Citizens in Fatick (New York: University of Cambridge Press, 1995).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 37.
    For the rise of this religious community see, Moriba Magassouba, L’Islam au Sénégal: Demain les mollahs? (Paris: Karthala, 1985), pp. 48–53.Google Scholar
  14. 40.
    For the potential for building democracy from the ground up in Africa, see James S. Wunsch, “Refounding the African State and Local Self-Governance: The Neglected Foundation,” The Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 38, No. 3 (2000), pp. 487–509 andCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. James S. Wunsch and Dele Olowu, Local Governance in Africa: The Challenges of Democratic Decentralization (Boulder: Lynne Rienner, 2003).Google Scholar

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© Sheldon Gellar 2005

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  • Sheldon Gellar

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