There exist grave problems in the communication between African Agrarian Societies and external actors, be these state or non-state actors, agents of development, humanitarian aid or activists of all hues and denominations. We study the internal communication processes of African Agrarian Societies in an ideal-type (Weber), their traditional communication with the outside world, such as other African Agrarian Societies, the fuzzy interfaces they have developed over history as well as their communication models and strategies. The absence of functioning communication interfaces that could overcome deep divides in perception, language, strategies and models contribute to the tensions and conflict potential between different Agrarian Societies and external actors. We develop a new understanding based on an approach that combines cues, signals and symbols in communication with people and with spirits. Their collective soul bridges live and dead members as well as the spirits of nature.  We look at their coping strategies when confronted with external onslaught of modern communication by different actors, such as missionaries, school, peri-modern states and by their communication strategies based on media. Although the cultural divide between societies can never be completely overcome, a better knowledge of African Agrarian Societies’ communication may help outside actors to improve their communicative approaches, be they public policies, development interventions or the varied range of social and political activisms.


Ulrich Schiefer . ISCTE-IUL .
Ana Larcher Carvalho . ISCTE-IUL .

This entry was posted in Paper and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.