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Hunters, Ritual, and Freedom: Dozo Sacrifice as a Technology of the Self in the Benkadi

Movement of Côte d'Ivoire

Author(s): Joseph Hellweg
Source: The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Mar., 2009), pp.
Published by: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland
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Hunters, ritual, and freedom:
dozo sacrifice as a technology
of the self in the Benkodi
movement of C?te d'Ivoire
Joseph Hellweg Florida State University

This article argues that dozo hunters in C?te d'Ivoire used sacrifice to become unofficial police in the
1990s as part of a security movement they called Benkadi. Scholars have noted similar transformations
of West African hunters into soldiers, park guards, and development agents in the context of
political, economic, and ecological changes. Although such changes created the conditions in which
dozos assumed national security roles, these conditions alone fail to explain why dozos became
police. I explore dozo sacrifice as a 'technology of the self in Foucault's terms to argue that dozos
freely assumed security roles as ethical responsibilities analogous to those implicit in their hunting
and occult pursuits. I draw on Frankl and Laidlaw to explain the emotional and practical aspects of
such self-fashioning. The cultural analysis of dozo rituals clarifies the ways dozo agency shaped the
impact of political economy and ecology on dozo practice.

From bicycles to sacrifice

In 1996, the Security Minister of the West African nation of C?te d'Ivoire, Marcel
Dibonan Kon?, announced that he would reform the Ivoirian police.1 He was respond
ing to the dramatic rise in banditry and drug-trafficking that accompanied Ivoirian
economic troubles and regional conflicts in Liberia and Sierra Leone (Brunie n.d.;
Courchamp 1995; Crook 1990; Ridler 1993).2 He vowed to raise salaries, stop corruption,
buy new equipment and repair old (Lobo 1996: 3), and, memorably, to supply bicycles
for police patrols. A year later many police stations still lacked patrol cars, two-way
radios, handcuffs, and ammunition, and officers were still extorting bribes from drivers
at roadside checkpoints (Kiki? 1997: 12; Sangho 1997: 2). Ivoirian journalists cast the
token bicycles (Assi 1997: 1; d'Almeida 1995: 10; Koffi 1997: 5) as symbols of state
ineptitude. One journalist described the situation in C?te d'lvoire's third largest city,
Daloa, as follows:

From one [police] station to the next, I hear the same complaint: police cars are unusable because it
is hard to get spare parts when [the cars] break down ... In terms of security, we know that mobility
is as dissuasive as it is persuasive: a regular police presence makes an impression on the criminal mind,
and police patrols reassure the population. As for the police in Daloa, their own private cars are their
only means of transportation apart from a few recently delivered bicycles ... The police, at first

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Hunters, ritual, and freedom 37

hesitant and disgruntled, finally started using these new vehicles. But... it is not with this means of
transportation that they will stage successful patrols (Banto 1997: 4, translation by author).

Journalists were not the only ones to notice the paradox.

Since the early 1990s, initiated Jula- and Senufo-speaking hunters, called dozos (Bassett
2003; 2004), were relying on a security technology more novel than bicycles to protect poor
and working-class neighbourhoods from crime: sacrifice (Hellweg 2004). In this article,
I argue that dozos assumed unofficial police roles after integrating national security
concerns into a pre-existing range of ethical responsibilities defined by sacrifice. The
sacrifices that already defined dozos as providers of protection and sustenance re-defined
them as a parallel police force. Their transformation mirrored a larger trend characteristic
of hunters in the region. Across West Africa in the 1990s, hunters became soldiers in Sierra
Leone's civil war (Ferme 2001; Ferme & Hoffman 2004; Richards 1996), park rangers and
border guards in Guinea (Leach 2000:591-3), development agents in Mali (Traor? 2004:
101-2), and dispute mediators in Burkina Faso (Hagberg 1998; 2004). Scholars have
explained these transformations, respectively, in terms of political, economic, ethno
demographic, and ecological circumstances. Although such dynamics created the con
ditions in which dozos in C?te d'Ivoire assumed national police roles, these conditions
alone fail to explain why dozos transformed themselves. I suggest that sacrifice provides
the missing link between political economy and dozo agency.
Dozos, I argue, used sacrifice as a 'technology of the self (Foucault 1988) to become
free, ethical agents in relation to their security and hunting pursuits. Through sacrifice,
they subjected themselves and their roles to repeated critical reflection, shaping their
response to crime and hunting as self-conscious and deliberate. They did so by choos
ing, as sacrificial victims, items that embodied their relations with the broader public
(jama in Jula) (see Bailleul 2000: 175). After hunting, they distributed game meat
to family, neighbours, and friends. They called these gifts sacrifices in French and, in
Jula, saraka - from sadakat in Arabic, meaning 'alms' (Delafosse 1955: 627). Dozos also
sacrificed objects that featured prominently in non-dozo rituals, namely chickens and
kola nuts, to ensure success on the hunt. Dozos' hunting success, shared through gifts of
game meat with the public, depended on the immolation of items produced in non
dozo contexts. Dozo sacrifices linked dozos' well-being to the public's, and vice versa,
forging a reciprocal, ethical relationship between the two parties.
By destroying metonyms of dozos exchanges with non-dozos, dozos anticipated the
dangers to which their relations with the public - and the social order that these relations
sustained - might fall prey. The immolation of sacrificial victims enacted a 'forced
intention' (Frankl 1959: 194) to transgress dozos reciprocal relations with the public,
evoking an awareness of the dangers that could undermine the very relations that defined
dozo roles. Awareness of these dangers helped dozos pre-empt them. Dozos likewise
anticipated threats to public welfare in a national context through the security movement
they called Benkadi, which means 'agreement (ben) is sweet' in Jula (Hellweg 2006).
Benkadi aimed to secure the public from crime by supplementing lax police security with
the moral 'agreement' that dozos sustained through sacrifice; they did not always succeed.
This article analyses dozos' participation in Benkadi as an expression of their sacrificial
I begin by situating Benkadi within the national political context of C?te d'Ivoire. I then
examine classic anthropological theories of sacrifice to argue that dozos immolated
victims as a prelude for ethical action. I draw on Foucault's (1988) notion of 'technologies

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38 Joseph Hellweg

of the self and FrankTs (1959:196) understanding of'paradoxical intention to account

for dozo sacrifice in theoretical terms. I then offer an ethnography o? dozo sacrifice inspired
by Laidlaw's (2002) analysis of Jain confession and asceticism as exercises of freedom. I
base my findings on interviews with dozos and on participant-observation in dozo rituals
in C?te dTvoire's northwestern Dengu?l? prefecture from 1994 to 1997.

Hunters transformed
At the end of the twentieth century, hunters were assuming unexpected roles in C?te
d'Ivoire. Bassett (2003: 1) has argued that dozos became security agents to regain the
status they lost by over-hunting the big game on which they once depended for their
livelihood and prestige. With the decline of game, dozos guarded markets, homes, and
businesses, manned armed, night-time security patrols and roadblocks (Bassett 2003;
Hellweg 2004), and tried and punished criminal suspects (Hellweg 2004) (Fig. 1).
Despite the coincidence of declining game and the emergence of Benkadi, dozos might
have done something else with their spare time. They became police, I contend, because
they already conjoined hunting and security. They hunted in the context of dozo
funerals, for instance, to placate the spirits of deceased dozos to prevent them from
ruining the bereaved family's crops, harming their livestock, and compromising local
hunting (Hellweg 2001). The absence of game merely allowed dozos to expand the range
of their protective work.
At first, Ivoirian officials welcomed dozos as auxiliary policemen, asking them to
guard northern polling places in the presidential elections of 1995 (Bassett 2003; 2004;
Hellweg 2004). In 1998, however, officials banned Benkadi in southern C?te dTvoire,

Figure 1. Dozos gather at night in front of the Benkadi headquarters in the town of Odienn?,
Dengu?l?'s regional capital, for their first security patrol, 6-7 August 1997 (this and all subsequent
photos by author).

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Hunters, ritual, and freedom 39

fearing that its estimated 22,000 to 100,000 dozos (Amary 1998; Bassett 2003:18) might
overthrow the state (Bassett 2003; 2004; Hellweg 2004). The presence of thousands of
armed men justified the state's as well as historian Stephen Ellis's (2003) characteriza
tion of Benkadi as a militia. What remains to be explained is why dozos did not militarily
challenge the state in the 1990s at the height of Benkadi's power. Former soldiers, not
dozos, instigated the 2002 rebellion against President Laurent Gbagbo. Hundreds of
dozos joined it, but so did non-dozos (Diallo 2005; Hellweg 2004). Although dozos'
transformations reflected political and economic tensions in C?te d'Ivoire, political
economy alone fails to explain dozos' transformations.
Dozos have long played subversive as well as stabilizing roles in West Africa (Bassett
2003; Leach 2000; Traor? 2004) under various circumstances (Cashion 1984; Ciss? 1964;
1994; Hagberg 1998; 2004). As guardians of society, they possess the power to undo it
(cf. Bellman 1975), upsetting the social order when they deem necessary for society's
welfare - which they identify closely with their own. McNaughton (1988: 71-2) has
described dozos as volatile and dangerous, especially when compared with ironsmiths
(numu), who heal, protect, and repel sorcery. For Bird and Kendall (1980: 16), dozos
embody fadenya, the divisiveness found among children of the same father by different
mothers. Ciss? (1964: 178), in contrast, argues that dozos, because of their shared
initiatory identities as hunters, exemplify badenya, the closeness found among siblings
of the same mother. I argue that dozos embody both. Their dual character is consistent
with their double-edged power.
King Sunjata Keita overturned Sosso and founded the empire of Mali (Ciss? 1994;
Ciss? & Kamissoko 1988; Johnson 1992; Niane 1965); and dozos defended the kingdom
of Segu (Ciss? 1994; Thoyer 1995) and Samory's state against the French (Person 1968).
They also acted 'as a forum for mobilization against the French throughout most of the
colonial period' (Leach 2000: 579). What remains elusive is the process by which they
have determined their various courses of action as agents. I propose sacrifice as their
means of doing so, as anthropological theory might have anticipated.

Theories of sacrifice
Anthropologists have long stressed the ethical, prophylactic, and relational nature of
sacrifice. Hubert and Mauss (1964 [1899]) argued that sacrifiers3 modify their moral
status, as well as society's, by identifying with their victims. When sacrifiers consume
their offerings, they imbibe something of the power that infuses the victims (cf. Bloch
1992). As a result, sacrifiers transform themselves and each other and reaffirm the social
order (see also Durkheim 2008 [1912]). Similarly, Evans-Pritchard (1956: 279) held that
sacrifiers offer sacrificial victims in exchange for the lives of those afflicted by spirits.
Spirits have no interest in the victims per se, but in the 'sincerity of intention' behind the
victims' destruction. For Hubert and Mauss (1964 [1899]: 62) and Evans-Pritchard
(1956: 275, 281), sacrifice is a contemplative act that assures human health and safety.
Lienhardt (1961) likewise saw sacrifice as an apotropaic meditation. He described
spirits as 'configurations' of sacrifiers' experience in society and the world (1961:147).
Because spirits reside in the world and in individual people (1961: 156, 161-2), they
regulate human, animal, and agricultural life, fertility, and death (1961: 63,81,85,90-3).
Spirits relate people to each other and to the cosmos, and people regulate their relations
with each other and the world through sacrifice. Sacrifiers immolate victims in
exchange for spirits' benevolent inattention, and the co-operation necessary to make
sacrifices helps sacrifiers resolve the problems that inspire their offerings. By imaging

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the grounds of affliction through spirits, sacrifiers conceptualize and thereby, to some
extent, master circumstances that would otherwise be beyond their control (1961:170).
For Lienhardt, sacrifice was a kind of social action.
Valeri (1985: 347) advanced Lienhardt's approach by arguing that spirits typify dif
ferent forms of social action as well as the limits and potential of such forms made
possible by those forms' enactment in sacrifice (1985: 22). Whereas Lienhardt saw
divinities as images derived from experience, Valeri saw them as concepts through
which participants make experiences intelligible (1985: 346-7). Through sacrifice, cul
tural sch?mas of action burn with lasting dread into participants' minds as moral laws
because of the pain and fear that immolation causes in animal victims. Sacrifiers
identify with these victims and associate them with particular spirits (1985: 70-1). The
result, as Bloch (1992) has argued, is that sacrifice brings sacrifiers power from beyond
their human limitations. It lends participants a critical perspective on social action by
defining their welfare as dependent upon those with whom, or thanks to whom, they
make their offerings: victims, other participants, and spirits.
Although anthropologists have variously explained sacrifice as gift exchange
(Durkheim 2008 [1912]; Hubert 8c Mauss 1964 [1899]), barter (Evans-Pritchard 1956),
social action (Lienhardt 1961), concept formation (Valeri 1985), or social revitalization
(Bloch 1992), scholars have consistently described sacrifice as reshaping sacrifiers'
agency and personhood in relation to their reciprocal obligations and the freedom
from affliction such obligations bring to those who fulfil them. In short, anthropolo
gists have portrayed sacrifice as what Foucault called a 'technology of the self.

Sacrifice as care of the self

By'technologies of the self, Foucault meant practices through which people transform
their 'bodies and souls, thoughts, conduct, and way of being, so as to ... attain a certain
state of happiness, purity, wisdom, perfection, or immortality' (1988: 8; see also 1997:
177, 225). Foucault helps clarify the importance of sacrifice for Benkadi because he
conceived of sacrifice, like any technology of the self, as an exercise of freedom (Laidlaw
2002:322). He identified the template for such technologies in Europe as pilgrims' visits
to the oracle at Delphi, where pilgrims made divinatory sacrifices (Broad 2006: 38).
Before one could make an acceptable offering for the oracle's prognostication, one had
to know what one wanted to ask. Sacrifice required one to 'know oneself. Foucault
(1988:19-20) describes this 'Delphic principle' as an intentional, ethical exercise stem
ming from the care of oneself. Sacrifice, as a technology of the self, was a form of
deliberate self-reflection intended 'to develop and transform oneself, and to attain to a
certain mode of being' (Foucault 1997: 282).
Such reflection, however, depended on and necessitated the kind of self-knowledge
that ensured care not only of oneself but of the polis as well (Foucault 1988: 24-5; 1997:
287). For ancient Greeks, political engagement followed from one's moral formation as
a person. From the self-knowledge that flowed from the 'divine contemplation' of
sacrifice came the 'rules ... for just behaviour and political action' (Foucault 1988: 25).
Self-knowledge through ritual grounded public life. As in classic anthropological theo
ries of sacrifice, ritual knowledge was ethical knowledge because it spoke to sacrifiers'
intentional relations with themselves, others, and the world.
Following the 'Delphic principle' of knowing and caring for oneself, Greeks and
Romans defined ritual self-transformation as melete or meditatio, respectively
(Foucault 1988: 36): 'meditation'. The act consisted of three operations designed to

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Hunters, ritual, and freedom 41

protect oneself and others from harm: (a) imagining the worst possible outcome in a
given situation, (b) envisioning that outcome 'as already actual and in the process of
taking place', and (c) confronting it directly to minimize its potential as a 'real ill' (1988:
36). Delphic sacrifices depicted dangers for the purpose of transcending them.
Surprisingly, Foucault's description of meditation recalls Frankl's psychoanalytic
practice of logotherapy. I say 'surprisingly' because of Foucault's indifference to psy
choanalytic methods (Hutton 1988: 125-7). Frankl (1959: 193-6), however, based his
logotherapy on the same principles that Foucault identified as key to meditation.
Frankl invited patients to (a) intend, 'even if only for a moment, precisely' what they
feared. Forming such 'paradoxical intentions' (b) allowed patients to anticipate situa
tions they feared, as if those situations were actually occurring. Doing so helped
patients (c) alleviate the 'anticipatory anxiety' associated with their fears.
If Foucault was correct when he wrote that Delphic self-examination underwent
various historical transformations - through Greece, Rome, European Catholicism,
and psychoanalysis (Foucault 1988; Hutton 1988:133-4) - then Frankl's psychoanalytic
vocabulary complemented Foucault's notion of sacrificial contemplation. Frankl lends
Foucault's approach an emotional depth relevant to the way dozos speak of their
sacrifices as meditations on the hunting dangers they fear. I draw on Frankl and
Foucault, not because either reveals something otherwise hidden about dozo sacrifices,
but because they offer a vocabulary for translating into anthropological terms what
dozos say and indicate about their rituals. Dozos describe their sacrifices as ethical
attempts to overcome the fear and danger involved in caring for themselves and others.
Dozos none the less made morally dubious choices. They used sacrifice to justify
self-interested, illegal, and violent acts both as members of Benkadi and as participants
in C?te dTvoire's 2002-7 military rebellion. As parallel police and militiamen, they
charged fees for their security work (Bassett 2003; 2004; Hellweg 2004), usurped state
authority, tortured criminal suspects (Hellweg 2004), and participated in ethnic vio
lence (Aboa 2005; Hofnung 2005). However, sacrifice still framed their acts, whether
constructive or destructive, in ethical terms. By 'ethical', I denote a process, following
Foucault, that reframes human agency in accord with the anticipated negative conse
quences of neglecting reciprocity in social relations. Dozos' ritual ethos justified arrest
ing criminals, disciplining criminally active dozos (Hellweg 2004: 19), and rebelling
against a regime that allegedly oversaw the massacre of fifty-seven Jula men in October
2002 (Amnesty International 2003). Dozos' vision of moral authority differed enough
from the state's to constitute a critique, no matter how imperfect, of state power,
worthy of analysis in its own terms.

Sacrifice as a practice of freedom

In the ethnography that follows, I examine how Benkadi dozos used sacrifice to act
within both the forest and the state despite their fears of both. They chose as victims
offerings that embodied dozos' reciprocal relations with the public. They then
destroyed these victims in ways that dramatized the dangers that threatened dozos'
well-being and, by extension, public safety, as defined by Benkadi. Such dangers
included injury or death on the hunt, sorcery, human treachery, the malfeasance of
dead dozos, and crime. By making sacrifices, dozos found the freedom to pursue their
activities - 'not freedom from conditions, but freedom to take a stand toward' them
(Frankl 1959: 205), to negotiate 'relations of power' within, rather than beyond, con
straints (Foucault 1997: 291-2; cf. Faubion 2003:151-2).

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Because such freedom is never total or absolute, and because its expressions con
stantly change, one can understand it only by studying the 'different ways in different
historical circumstances' in which 'freedom is exercised' (Laidlaw 2002: 322). Laidlaw,
for example, has analysed the Jain confessional practice of pratikraman and concluded
that its bodily prostrations and postures enumerate 'a comprehensive catalogue' of all
the sins a Jain could ever commit (Laidlaw 2002: 325). Such asceticism identifies and
renounces one's earthly needs and desires. As a technology of the self, Jain confession
achieves both 'self-revelation and self-destruction' because it reminds one of one's
propensity to sin, even when one does not actually sin (2002: 326).
Such severe, self-destructive pursuits amount to ethical exercises of agency because
they impose choices that practitioners may dislike given the painful risks involved
(Faubion 2003:161; Laidlaw 2002: 326). Dozo sacrifices inventory the failures and perils
that Benkadi dozos confronted as a result of the dangers inherent in hunting and
crime-fighting (Hellweg 2006; see Howe 2000: 73). Whenever dozos initiate action
through sacrifice, they practise a kind of self-renunciation analogous to that of other
technologies of the self.
Dozo sacrifice
Dozos perform most of their sacrifices in ritual areas called danguns (Fig. 2). Here they
make offerings to the spirit of the first dozo, Manimory, to gain his protection while
hunting game. When Manimory approves dozos intentions, he makes their offerings of
halved kola nuts and slaughtered chickens fall to the ground in certain ways when
tossed. Dozo sacrifices, like those at Delphi, divine sacrifiers' proper course of action in
caring for themselves and others. By immolating and ingesting victims born of non
dozo forms of production, dozos objectify and internalize a responsibility to protect
each other and the public.

Figure 2. Odienn?'s dangun in the foreground with several dozos seated next to its focal termite
mound and three others arriving on foot.

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Hunters, ritual, and freedom 43

Dozos are, for instance, the first to whom the public turn in order to combat animal
scavengers in farmers' fields, shape-shifting sorcerers in the forest, or nyama, the
vindictive soul-force inherent in many animals that may sicken those who eat game
meat still containing it.4 Some dozos are also renowned healers. They are thus premier
defenders of public health and safety. To the extent that they make of themselves such
persons through their initiatory offerings - 'because it is as such [persons] that, on
reflection, they ought to live' (Laidlaw 2002: 327) - sacrifice elicits their protective
pursuits as free ethical conduct. Dozos use sacrifice to divine the kinds of selves and
actions they ought to be and do (Laidlaw 2002:324). They do so at their initiations and
throughout their lives. Sacrifice prepares dozos for their work, whether they succeed in
it or not (see Lambek 2007: 27). Sacrifice marks the start of dozos* careers and readies
them for the hunting, occult, and security-related pursuits they will repeatedly under
take. It allows them to 'step back from [their] way of acting or reacting, to present it to
[themselves] as an object of thought and to question it as to its meaning, its conditions,
and its goals' (Foucault 1997:117). Through sacrifice, dozos find freedom by detaching
themselves from their aims and reflecting on them as problems (Foucault 1997:117).

Initiating dozos
For his initiation, a prospective dozo gives a red chicken (manadunun) and ten red kolas
(woro wulen) to his sponsor and teacher (karanmogoce), who then arranges for their
sacrifice to Manimory. Jula may inherit chickens from deceased relatives (fathers,
mothers, or siblings) or receive them from hosts as gifts while visiting other villages.
Initiates may also purchase them at markets. The same applies to kola nuts, which
initiates can acquire through purchase, gift-giving, or familial sharing. Chickens' blood
and halved kola nuts are thus metonyms of sacrifiers' relations to kin, friends, or the
markets that the Jula diaspora has spread across West Africa (Griffith 1971:167). Such
offerings 'disclose the array of relationships in which they are enmeshed' (Myhre 2006:
Blood and kola nuts also appear in non-dozo rituals. A midwife buries a newborn's
placenta just outside the door of the house in which it was born. At the baby's naming
ceremony, parents offer kola nuts and a paste of pounded, uncooked rice (malodege) to
neighbours, who give blessings for the child's welfare. At betrothal (worosiri or 'kola
tying'), the prospective groom's parents give ten kola nuts to the prospective fiancee's
parents to begin marriage negotiations. Blood and kolas thus elicit goodwill or 'agree
ment' (ben) from those with whom one enters a reciprocal, moral relationship -
between parents and children, neighbours, or spouses and their families.
A dozo's initiatory sacrifice evokes the same kind of reciprocal ethic with its presta
tions of blood and kola nuts. The initiate's sponsor or local dozo chief (dozokuntigi)
sacrifices the offerings on the initiate's behalf in the dangun. In C?te d'lvoire's north
western Dengu?l? prefecture, the dangun usually stands on the western edge of the
village, town, or city where dozos live.5 Before the sacrifice, the initiate's sponsor or
another dozo elicits four vows (la/y enga?a) from the initiate: not to lie, steal, commit
adultery, or betray other dozos. At my initiation, my sponsor asked me to cite the things
from which dozos must abstain. 'Dozos must not lie, steal, commit adultery, or betray
other dozos", I replied.6 The local dozo chief then took one of the kola nuts I had given
my sponsor, split it in two, and asked Manimory to make the halves land in such a way
as to show his acceptance of the offering (cf. Dieterlen 1988:242): both face down in my

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case. The kola nut, previously embedded in my relations to my dozo sponsor and the
market where I purchased it, now tied me ethically to other dozos and Manimory.
If the kola's halves fall propitiously - as they did in my case on the third attempt -
the sacrifier presents the chicken to Manimory. A sacrificer (kantegela or 'throat
cutter') then slits the bird's throat and lets its blood drip onto the ground or onto a
termite mound if one is present in the dangun, as was often the case in Dengu?l?. Next,
the sacrificer lets the bird fall onto the ground, where it flails about. If it lands on its
back, it confirms Manimory's approval of the offering. At my initiation, my dozo
sponsor told me to place my right hand on the bird's upturned breast, as if to link
Manimory and me physically through my offering. Then the initiate and any other
dozos present roast and eat the chicken together, and senior dozos share the kolas. In
doing so, initiates ingest metonyms of their new obligations to the whole community
(not to lie, steal, or commit adultery) as well as to fellow dozos (not to betray them). By
eating subsequent victims, they define themselves as men expected to uphold a roster
of moral responsibilities regularly recalled through bodily consumption (cf. Foucault
1988: 28-9; Laidlaw 2002: 325).
Douglas (1966) analysed animal bodies as analogies for society and its internal and
external boundaries. Strathern (1988:143-67) focused on animals as metonyms of the
relations that cross those boundaries and through which animals circulate via
exchange. Dozos share the animals they sacrifice with each other, and, after the hunt,
with non-dozos, to define the relations underlying these exchanges as the foundations
of social order, both within and across social boundaries. In doing so, they legitimize
their prerogative to intervene in these relations to regulate them.
Each initiatory sacrifice creates a moral 'tie' (ka lafyenli ke) between initiate, Mani
mory, other dozos, and those who benefit from dozos' work as hunters, healers, or
unofficial police. After initiation, the initiate can fully participate in dozo sacrifices and
gain the trust of dozo colleagues, from whom he will learn more about hunting, healing,
and sorcery. Should a dozo break his vows, Manimory will punish him with a series of
hunting mishaps, increasing in severity until they prove fatal if he makes no sacrificial
amends. Dozos initiations thus ground dozos obligations to the living in an ethical
relationship to the dead. Their vows to Manimory encode protective responsibilities to
the public that find expression in the sacrifices dozos make to protect themselves on the
hunt. I now describe these sacrifices.

Hunting sacrifices
In the dry season in Dengu?l?, dozos make offerings to Manimory and other deceased
dozos to ensure the safety of all hunters, whether initiated or not, on the hunt. One of
these rituals is the kalanfan. In the Jula of Dengu?l? (Wojenekakan), kalan denotes the
spring in a locally made musket that is released when the trigger is pulled. The spring
frees the gun's hammer, igniting powder to fire lead shot from the muzzle. Fan
denotes a protective sacrifice (cf. Bailleul 2000: 122).7 Kalanvan thus translates as
'trigger protection'.
On the morning of 5 February 1997 in the village of Nienesso in Dengu?l?'s Bako
sub-prefecture just south of the regional capital, Odienn?, about seventy-five men and
boys, both dozos and non-dozos, laid their guns, farming tools, and knives - anything
that might kill animals - in a pile not far from Nienesso's dangun. The crowd went quiet
as Chief Dozo Lamine Kon? lit both ends of a metre-long torch of dry grass accented
with green mana tree leaves in the middle, where he held it. He lunged back and forth,

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waving the torch near the tools and weapons. He asked Manimory and Nienesso's
deceased dozos to protect hunters, including non-dozos, from snakes, other dangerous
animals, forest fires, stray bullets, and sharp wood. The crowd shouted, cYo, yo, yo, }?!'
in response, and Lamine threw the torch to the ground, whereupon an egg, hidden at
its centre, burst. Afterward, participants gathered their hunting tools and returned to
the village.
Back in Nienesso, an older dozo, Kon? Youssouf, talked about the egg: 'People don't
know what kind [of chick] it is ... Is it male ... female ... white ... black and white ... red?
No one knows ... So it goes in the dry grass, and all [our problems] go with it. Hunters
should have no accidents ... in the forest'. Just as one cannot know the gender or colour
of an unborn chick, I inferred, one cannot foresee the hazards men will face on the
The egg, a metonym of the relations between dozos and non-dozos - the egg being a
result of non-dozo production - absorbs the dangers that all hunters face on the hunt.
The torch's grass and green leaves are the forest. The flames are the fires and gunfire
that harm hunters. Every dry season, hunters light fires to clear the forests of the tall
grass that grows during the rains. The fires kill saplings, blacken bark, and sometimes
burn whole villages; and hunters may accidentally wound or kill colleagues with
gunfire. Naming and enacting such risks enumerates the entire range of problems that
bedevil hunters (see Foucault 1988: 36-7; Frankl 1959:193), favouring their 'real resolu
tion insofar as it depends on the moral relations of the agents' (Valeri 1985: 347) - that
is, on dozos' and other hunters' co-operative ability to name, confront, and see beyond
what they fear. In the kalanfar), hunters elude danger and death by intending both in
the egg's destruction.
Dozo Doumbia Soungalo explained the kalanfarjs rationale in Jula in just such terms:

The bad things that can happen in the fields today, the egg will take them out of our way ... It's a
sacrifice [saraka] ... it closes them ... The chief dozo ... called on the dead. We shouldn't have any
problems in the forest now that the dry season [terema ] has begun ... He put the egg in the grass with
[our] problems. He names [our] problems while holding the [torch] in his hand.

Chief Dozo Lamine demonstrated. 'You hold [it] like this', he said. 'You throw [foron]
it on the ground. It [the egg] breaks'.
'And so, your problems break?' I asked, tentatively.
'Unh-HUNH!' agreed Lamine, Youssouf, and Soungalo in unison.
By intending what they hope to avoid, dozos hope to avoid what they intend.
Cathecting a catalogue of fears onto the egg and dramatizing them with the burning
torch brings those fears to hunters' awareness to neutralize them (cf. Laidlaw 2002:325).
When dozos destroy their offerings - egg, torch, and leaves - they anticipate the
possibility of hunters' injury and death. Doing so cultivates a critical awareness of the
dangers they face from the forest and each other. Hunters receive Manimory's protec
tion in return, transferred to the hunters and hunting implements in proximity to the
Enacting hunters' perils frees hunters from them. A 31-year-old dozo named Adama,
who often attended dozo sacrifices in Odienn?, referred to dozo sacrifice in French as a
'form of meditation' (m?ditation) (8 July 1996). Adama said that if you want to do
something, 'you know you cannot do it without Manimory, so you come to the bush
(brousse) to meditate (m?diter)'. As per Foucault and Frankl, hunters systematically list

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their fears to contemplate them. By performing the kalanfarj, dozos dispel both the
dangers they face and the dread these dangers provoke. They do so with non-initiates,
creating ethical ties that encompass Manimory, dozos, and the public, who have as
much to lose from hunting catastrophes as hunters themselves. Dramane Coulibaly, a
renowned dozo singer (ngonunfoce) and my host in Nienesso, spoke for all dozos when
he sang of his fear of death at the funeral of a dozo named Moussa in the village of
Komb?dougou: 'God, I fear death ... Moussa's death was not sweet in Komb?dougou ...
[He left] nine orphans, nine widows, and nine unmarried men in one house ... Death
is not good; death does not think'.8 Because a dozo's death may deprive his family of a
father, husband, provider, and brother, a hunting catastrophe is inherently a social one,
and the protection of hunters and their families is a public preoccupation.

Dream sacrifices
Dozo Amara Kon? told me in Jula, for example, that Allah sent dreams (kibaro) to
dozos through which Manimory communicated instructions for dozos to follow, for
the good of dozos and non-dozos alike (cf. Goody 1962: 107-8, 129; Shaw 1992: 45-8,
51-52). According to Amara, 'Manimory cannot speak', but he can enter dozos' con
sciousness through images. Once, Amara dreamed that he and his dozo colleagues
should collect a variety of roots, sacrifice two chickens over them, burn the roots,
pound the charcoal to dust, and wash their bodies with an infusion made from the
powder. In July 1996, a year before Benkadi began security patrols in the town of
Odienn?, Amara and his colleagues followed Manimory's instructions, convinced that
the concoction would protect them from bandits' knives, bullets, and sorcery
(Hellweg 2004:11-12). If sacrifices like this one prepared dozos for more than hunting,
then it meant that their ethical relation to Manimory encompassed more than hunters
and the forest.
On 23 December 1996, for instance, Chief Dozo Souma?la Fofana organized a sacri
fice in response to a dream.9 A Malian man had dreamed that the spirit of a deceased
dozo was trying to contact living dozos to request a sacrifice. The dead man, concerned
about possible catastrophes arising from his own misdeeds, sought to protect his son
from their consequences. The dozo had reportedly killed himself with a rifle after raping
his own daughter. My dozo friend Adama and his brother said that Manimory had sent
the dream to a Malian dozo living far from Odienn? to make the message more
compelling and credible. When dozos heard the news, they recognized the deceased as
a dozo who had once lived near Odienn?'s rice-packing plant.
On the morning of the sacrifice, dozos gathered in Odienn?'s dangun, located next to
a dirt path that led west of town. The dangun centred on a tall, abandoned termite
mound anchored to two mango trees. Chief Dozo Souma?la began the sacrifice by
asking Manimory to protect dozos while hunting and to help dozos begin Benkadi
patrols in Odienn?, which officials had yet to approve. Souma?la then spilled water
from a calabash onto a small hump on the termite mound, removed a kola from the
calabash, and split it. He tossed its halves twice before Manimory made them land as
requested. Dozos then cut the throats of twenty-five chickens and placed them in a large
pot of boiling water to remove the feathers (Fig. 3). Next, an influential older man,
Bambala Brahima, stepped up to the mound to ask Manimory to protect the dead
man's son. He chewed a kola nut and spat the pieces onto the mound's hump to
complete the offering.

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Figure 3. A senior dozo completes a libation to Manimory in the background while a younger
colleague lets blood drip from the slit throat of a sacrificed chicken in the foregroud.

After dozos had roasted and eaten the chickens together, dozo Mamadou Doumbia
summarized Soumaila's requests in French:

When we go into the bush [brousse], may one [dozo] not wound another. May a [dozo's] bullet not find
someone else. If someone steals, may Manimory expose it. If someone steals and tries to hide it, may
Manimory expose him so that dozos can capture him. May Manimory protect us from serpents,
thorns, and the sharp wood that can pierce our feet in the bush. [As for] the man who is going to plot
against [dozos], may Manimory expose him.10

Soumai'la and Brahima included hunting hazards as well as a young man's occult
jeopardy in their list of dangers, and they invited dozos to anticipate the possibility that
men might plot against Benkadi s security patrols in Odienn?. They did so for the same
reason for which they invited dozos to foresee perils posed by the forest and the dead:
to dispel and avoid them. With nothing to fear, dozos could respond deliberately to the
ecological, political, and economic changes thrust upon them.
Through sacrifice, dozos classified hunting dangers, occult catastrophes, and crime
as analogous threats. All three originated with careless, demanding, or ill-intentioned
human beings: reckless, immoral, or inattentive hunters, the imperious spirits of dead
dozos, and criminals. All three endangered dozos and the public. All three elicited dozo
sacrifice as protective social action. Further examples of dozo sacrifice in the context of
dozo funerals will clarify these equivalences.

Exit the shadow

Because living dozos help protect the public, their deaths open the public to harm. After
a dozo*s death, dozos stage a series of funeral rites to placate his soul. Otherwise, the

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deceased might spoil his family's crops and livestock and ruin the community's
hunting prospects out of spite. Dozos' hunting lives are inextricably bound to their
social ones (Leach 2000: 582-3).
Dozo funeral rites begin with the yaladon. The word ya, meaning shadow, connotes
the aspect of a person that endures after death (see Ciss? 1973: 151). The verb ladon
means 'to make enter'. Together, the syllables translate as 'making the shadow enter'.
A successful yaladon bids the deceased farewell, easing him into the after
life (kiyama) so he neither perturbs nor is perturbed by the living due to lingering
Before every yaladon, dozos prepare to divine the deceased's feelings towards the
living through the dagalabirin, or 'pot-overturning'. Daga means 'clay pot', and labirin
means 'to turn upside down'. Before each yaladon, dozos meet privately to turn a clay
pot in the deceased's home upside down over various foodstuffs. According to the now
deceased chief dozo of Somokoro, who spoke to me in Jula,

You get fonio [millet] grains and fill a small piece of calabash with them. There is a tree here called
burerj. You take one of its fruits and place it on top of the fonio seeds. Then you take an onion and lay
it on the fonio. You take some dried meat and lay it on the fonio. When all of this is on the fonio, you
enclose it under an overturned pot (8 May 1997).

Each item under the pot represents a kind of subsistence: fonio, farming; buren fruit,
forest-gathering; dried meat, hunting; onions, gardening or market exchange. Although
some women in Dengu?l? grow onions in gardens, more acquire them through barter
or cash at markets.
Although I never witnessed a pot-overturning, my dozo friend, Drissa Kon?, told me
that dozos seal the pot to the floor of the deceased's home with clay. Dozos then sacrifice
a chicken over the pot in memory of the dead man, and the pot remains in place. Days
or even months later, dozos begin the yaladon s public phase. It begins after dozos finish
their evening meal at some point after dusk, typically between 8:00 and 10:00 p.m., and
lasts until 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. It occurs in the deceased's compound, where dozo musicians
lead dozo dances and sing to dozos and the deceased's widow(s). Dozos also present
game meat to the deceased's family.
Together, the dagalabirin and the yaladon s songs, dances, and meat prestations
comprise a single sacrifice, as the chief dozo of Bougousso explained in Jula:

The yaladon is a sacrifice (sarakabo) [that we perform by] pleasing each other with music and dance.
We present a chicken to the deceased to give him strength [at the dagalabirin]. The young dozos go into
the bush. If they kill game, they give it to the family of the deceased, to his kin. All of this gives him
strength. It is a sacrifice (25 June 1996).

In calling the yaladon a sacrifice, the chief dozo defined sacrifice as involving more than
ritual bloodshed. He included acts of conviviality, such as singing, dancing, and gift
giving, which enact the intentions that interest the deceased and Manimory. Such acts
create 'agreement', or ben, between dozos and the public, and between the living and the
dead, assuring everyone's well-being. If participants fail to co-operate, they may fail to
release the deceased's shadow and suffer the consequences: poor hunting, poor har
vests, and ill livestock. A second funeral rite divines and prevents these catastrophes.

Night of the hunter

In the kozi, dozos finalize the deceased's peaceful departure. The word derives from the
Bamanakan word konsi, which combines the words konko, which means 'fields' (fcorj or

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/cono in Jula), or 'master hunter' (Cashion 1984: 228), and si, the word in Bamanakan for
both the verb 'to spend the night' (Bailleul 2000: 416) and the noun 'night' (also su in
both Jula and Bamanakan). Kozi thus translates as 'night of the master hunter' (Cashion
1984: 228) or 'spending the night with the master hunter'. At kozis, dozos sing, dance, eat,
hunt, and make blood sacrifices to release the spirit of the dead dozo from the world of
the living (duniya). The kozi begins after the evening meal and lasts until noon the next
Senior dozos, the deceased's eldest son, and dozos close to the deceased enter his
house after midnight to complete the divinatory process begun with the dagalabirin
(the 'pot overturning'). The procedure's second half is called dagalawuli. The verb
lawuli means 'to stand something up', so dagalawuli translates as 'pot-upturning'. It
names the act of upturning the pot left upside down at the dagalabirin. The dagalawuli
begins when dozos sacrifice a chicken over the pot to honour the deceased. The former
chief dozo of Somokoro explained in Jula what dozos hope to find under the upturned

If the fonio [and everything else] is in place, people will say that your 'pot is good'. Misfortune
(?amara) no longer waits behind or ahead of you. Your problems have ended. No one... will have any
more problems. If the fonio is partially eaten, [though,] there is a problem. If the fonio is completely
gone from inside the pot, and nothing is left, there is a ... big problem. If you fail to make a sacrifice
[fagadegi], there will be misfortune. That's what [the dagalawuli] is all about. If things are as you
placed them, everyone is happy; everyone smiles ... They will have good harvests. They will do good
business. They will hunt game and find it (8 May 1997).

As in other sacrifices, dozos risk their own and the public's destruction by sacrificing
metonyms of their shared lives. Both dozos and non-dozos farm, work in markets, and
hunt and gather food in the forest. To enact the entire community's undoing by leaving
food items vulnerable to insects is, paradoxically, to ensure its safety.
If dozos risk nothing, said Kanamankan Diarrassouba in Jula, Souma?la's successor
as chief dozo of Odienn?, then they gain nothing:

If you leave neither rice, nor fonio, nor yam, nor millet - if you set the pot up empty, you will starve
to death. You try to farm; it will spoil. You will find nothing to eat... It is the same for sheep and goats.
Everything in the compound [will be] spoiled (9 August 1997).

Whereas leaving food under the pot at the dagalabirin indexes the community's vul
nerability to harm, the discovery of its consumption at the dagalawuli announces
imminent, potential danger as well as the possibility of averting it.
If dozos find the food under the pot consumed, they try to discern the source of the
deceased's rancour by naming potential causes. After each suggestion, a dozo tosses a
split kola nut before the food. When the pieces fall as called, dozos have identified the
problem. They can then resolve it with appropriate action and further sacrifice. Drissa
Kon? called the process mategeli : the 'clearing away' of false explanations for the
problem, as when one clears grass with machetes, making a path through the forest.
Like the kalanfaq and dagalabirin, mategeli lists potential problems to provoke their
resolution. The dagalawuli and mategeli accomplish the same self-fashioning that
characterizes other dozo sacrifices. They enumerate sacrifiers' vulnerabilities and defi
ciencies so that participants can reorientate themselves towards the resolution of these
problems through right conduct.

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The Somokoro kozi

I never witnessed a dagalawuli where insects had reached the pot's contents, but I did
attend a dagalawuli at a kozi in the village of Somokoro, Dengu?l?. On the morning of
12 May 1997,1 accompanied dozos into the dead dozo's home after midnight to find the
food beneath the pot untouched. At around 6:50 a.m., about a hundred dozos left the
village, single-file, for the dangun. The dead man's son led the way, carrying his father's
pot on his head. A dozo behind him carried a smouldering piece of wood. Six more
dozos followed, including several dozo musicians who sang as we walked. I followed the
musicians. Behind me walked a dozo carrying a goat. Goats, like kola nuts and chickens,
appear in both dozo and non-dozo rituals. West African Muslims use them when they
cannot afford sheep for the annual Muslim sacrifice of Tabaski, and dozos sacrifice them
at kozis and on other occasions.
The dozos walked until we stopped at the dangun, a small clearing in the forest on
our path's northern side. A single, slim tree stood at the centre. Those dozos wearing
shoes removed them before entering the dangun and placed small leafy branches from
nearby trees next to the central tree as cushions for Manimory - as if he were sitting
among us. The dozo holding the goat hitched it to the tree. Then several dozos, I among
them, danced briefly to musical accompaniment in a circle at the dangun's edge.
Afterwards, all dozos sat in and around the dangun on piles of leaves that younger dozos
and I had provided as cushions. Meanwhile, the deceased's son placed his father's pot
upright on the dangun's western edge.
All now turned their attention to the dangun's centre, where a dozo came forward
with a calabash of water and two kola nuts. Speaking to the deceased, he said, 'This is
your water', and dripped some onto the ground before spitting twice at the bottom of
the tree. He then split one of the kolas and tossed it. It fell, one half face up, the other
face down, indicating that the dead dozo had accepted the offering. Then a few dozos
came forward to untie the goat and hold it still while another dozo cut its throat, spilling
blood onto the leaves at the base of the tree.
Another dozo came forward with a chicken, for which the sacrificer repeated the
same steps as for the goat. He consecrated the bird to Manimory on behalf of the dead
man's son. Now that his dozo father had died, the son would be initiated in his place.
After the sacrificer cut the chicken's throat and dropped the bird to the ground, it stood
for a moment, then fell on its back, whereupon the sacrificer ordered two dozos to hold
it in place. Its position signalled Manimory's approval. Dozos then stepped away from
the dangun as the dead man's son approached with a musket. He placed the barrel's end
next to the pot and fired a round of powder to shatter the clay. Eleven more dozos fired
in the same direction to disperse any problems (?amara) that might have remained in
the pot after the dagalawuli.
As the smoke cleared, and while most dozos were still seated, a senior dozo raised a
controversy that had been brewing in Somokoro. A month before, dozos had begun
Benkadi patrols in Somokoro. On one patrol, a dozo had blown his whistle to locate
other dozos. In reply, uninitiated youths responded by blowing whistles of their own,
misleading the dozo into thinking his companions had responded. Somokoro dozos had
not yet decided how or even whether to punish the culprits. The issue remained a bone
of contention that dozos hoped to resolve before the kozi s end. As dozos began to
deliberate, younger dozos skinned the goat, plucked the chicken, and used the smoul
dering wood they had brought to start a fire. Other dozos arrived from the village with
cooking pots, a basin of water, and condiments for cooking fonio millet (Fig. 4). While

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Figure 4. A dozo prepares a meal of chicken and fonio millet in Odienn?'s dangun.

a handful of dozos remained to prepare the food, most returned to the village for a
morning meal of rice. While there, they decided to fine the whistle-blowers a thousand
francs CFA apiece before returning to the dangun at around 9:00 a.m. to eat the goat
and fonio and conclude the kozi (Fig. 5).
Sacrifice played several roles in this context. It assured the departure of the dead
man, the initiation of his son, and a decision about punishing the youths who inter
fered with a Benkadi patrol. In each case, sacrifice assured the moral 'agreement' (ben)
that dozos judged foundational to the social order. The fact that dozos regularly raised
security concerns in their sacrifices - as at the Somokoro kozi and the two dream
sacrifices discussed earlier - reveals how consistently they conceived of Benkadi in the
same sacrificial terms that defined their hunting and occult practices. Sacrifice initiated
every dozo career and pursuit, making them all matters of ben, or reciprocal ethical
agreement between dozos and their public. Without sacrifice, there would have been no
ben, and without ben, no Benkadi.

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Figure 5. Dozos consume the meat of sacrificed chickens in the shade of the Odienn? dangun's
mango trees.

Sacrificing for security

In this essay, I have explored dozo sacrifice to explain Benkadi as an ethical undertaking
determined as much by dozo agency as by political economy or ecology. I have argued
that dozos use sacrifice as a technology of the self to regulate the social order. By
immolating offerings that index their reciprocal relations with the public, they define
the dangers that arise from hunting, death, crime, and violence as public concerns, and
they assert a privileged authority and control over these dangers.
When dozos consume their offerings, or recuperate the benefits of their victims'
destruction less directly, as at the kalanfar), they physically internalize the relations
embodied in their offerings, evoking within themselves an obligation to protect those
to whom their sacrifices join them. Dozos thus pursued Benkadi within, but not because
of, its political, economic, and environmental contexts. Within these contexts, sacrifice
roused dozos to action by educing an awareness that dozos' well-being depended on the
communal productivity that assured their offerings of chickens, kolas, goats, and other
foodstuffs to Manimory for safe hunting and policing. Thus fortified by sacrifice, dozos
could assure public safety. They mitigated fears arising from such responsibility
through a paradoxical drama (Frankl 1959: 196) of death and defeat, which took 'the
wind ... out of the sails of [their] anxiety' (1959:197) - the yolk out of the egg of their
fear, so to speak. Dozos destroyed signifiers of their social relations to destroy the
possibility of those relations' destruction.
Sacrifice, in the context of game depletion, falling commodity prices, ethnic ten
sions, and rebellion, explains how and why dozos adopted police and, later, military
roles in C?te d'Ivoire. As hunters, they had historically maintained a protective rela
tionship with the public before expanding it to counter crime and conflict. When

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banditry and war overtook shape-shifting sorcerers, vindictive souls, or crop-eating

vermin as public enemy number one, dozos responded through sacrifice because crime
and war, like these other hazards, threatened the reciprocal relations with their com
munities that sustained dozos as hunters.
Benkadi dozos made sacrifices to commune with the sacred (Durkheim 2008 [1912];
Hubert & Mauss 1964 [1899] ), protect people from spirits (Evans-Pritchard 1956), dispel
pessimism (Lienhardt 1961), organize action (Valeri 1985), and re-energize society
(Bloch 1992). Above all, their sacrifices structured Benkadi as an exercise in moral
agency. If political economy alone explained Benkadi, then dozos would have had no
need to perform the repetitive, deliberate, and explicit self-examination of their sacri
fices. Benkadi's motivations would have been implicit, automatic, and amoral instead of
public, wilful, and ethically orientated. Sacrifice offered dozos more than psychological
comfort while hunting and more than a rationalization for subverting state authority.
To paraphrase Frankl (1959:156), if sacrifice 'were ... no more than a projection of ...
wishful thinking, it would immediately lose its demanding and challenging character;
it could no longer call forth or summon' dozos to action.
In C?te d'Ivoire, however, dozos used sacrifice to invent a provisional solution to
crime against the pervasive 'informalization of politics' that resulted in a weakly insti
tutionalized Ivoirian police (Bayart 1999:116; Chabal & Daloz 1999:14-15). The state in
turn mistrusted social movements like Benkadi that emerged from beyond bureaucratic
control (see Ferguson 1990: 254-6; Scott 1998: 76-83). While the Ivoirian Security Min
ister was providing police with bicycles 'that cost the state a small fortune [but often]
ended up in the hands of police commissioners' children' (Koffi 1997: 5), dozos were
co-ordinating a national response to a crisis of public insecurity rooted largely in
state corruption and inefficiency. If dozos contributed to national instability in the
process, they did so because they interpreted civic responsibility, through ritual, as
negotiable, relational, and entrepreneurial rather than as legislated, institutional, and
Through sacrifice, dozos apperceived the political, economic, and ecological tensions
of the time as alterable rather than determining, as opportunities rather than obstacles,
as invitations to interpretation rather than as imperatives for adaptation. Through
sacrifice, dozos discerned and pursued social action as an ethical project - one at which
they often failed. They defined their roles in relation to the public prerogatives that
grounded their power and authority: hunting, healing, and protecting. They defined
anything that undermined these prerogatives as a threat. Sacrifice readied dozos to
respond to such threats in the service of certain ethical exigencies, the nature of which
shifted through time according to changing circumstances. Dozos thus saw social life as
an ongoing process of moral deliberation as opposed to a stable consensus of given
duties. Their sacrifices orientated them to action amid historical contingencies in ways
that contingencies alone never could have. Their sacrifices, as practices of freedom,
defined and ever renewed the limits and possibilities of their agency.

I thank the people of Dengu?l?, and especially my host, Dramane Coulibaly, for their hospitality and
guidance during my stay. The Fulbright Foundation and University of Virginia's Carter Woodson Institute
funded the dissertation work on which this article is based. Yale's Center for Interdisciplinary Research on
AIDS funded the initial drafts. Oury Diallo, Coordinator of the American Reading Room at the University of
Kankan provided the office space and internet access necessary to complete final revisions while I was on a
Fulbright Lecturer/Research Fellowship in Guinea. Drissa Kon? enriched my understanding of all things

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54 Joseph Hellweg

dozo. At the University of Virginia, Susan McKinnon, David Sapir, Roy Wagner, Hanan Sabea, Kandioura
Dram?, Edith Turner, Jerome Handler, and Robert Crouch - and, at conferences, Thomas Bassett, Sten
Hagberg, Melissa Leach, and Karim Traor? - helped refine my ideas. At Florida State University, Michael
Uzendoski and Ashley Kistler (now at Rollins College) gave invaluable criticism. In Tallahassee, Umi Desh
pande has been the best of editors. Simon Coleman, Mike McGovern, Justin Dyer, and the JRATs anonymous
reviewers have productively challenged my assertions. I alone am responsible for making good use of their
11 use pseudonyms for all persons mentioned in this article apart from those of the Ivoirian Security
Minister, Odienn?'s two chief dozos (Souma?la Fofana and Kanamankan Diarrassouba), my host (Dramane
Coulibaly, a renowned dozo performer), and my research collaborator (Drissa Kon?).
2 Brunie (n. d.) collected Ivoirian press clippings that chronicle rising crime in C?te d'Ivoire.
31 use the word 'sacrifier' (Hubert & Mauss 1964 [1899]: 10) primarily to denote dozo participants in dozo
sacrifices. I call dozos who immolate victims 'sacrificers'.

4 Nyama is a neutral force released when people transform natural phenomena into consumable things
(see Bird & Kendall 1980:16-17; Ciss? 1973; McNaughton 1988:15-16): game into meat, sounds into words, or
iron into tools. Dozos with whom I spoke in Dengu?l? never claimed to neutralize nyama in humans, nor did
they indicate that nyama inhabits people (cf. Bird & Kendall 1980:17).
5 The word dangun appears to come from the Jula word dan, meaning 'limit', 'boundary', or 'frontier', and
kun, meaning 'head', 'tip', or 'end'. The 'k' is voiced as a 'g' after the nasal 'n'.
6 In Jula, 'Dozo kana wuya fo, o kana fen Jonya, o kana nyamogoya ke, o kana janfa ke'.
7 The 'f ' is voiced as a V after the 'n' of kalan.

8 In Jula, Dramane sang, 'N'jiana saya nye ... Feretanun kononton, su ta moso kononton, ce gbanan
kononton bon kelen ... Saya man nyi, saya t'i mirila (13-14 April 1995).
9 Souma?la is the same person referred to as Sma'ila in Hellweg (2001; 2004). The former spelling is correct.
10 Dozos forbade me to record their requests verbatim, except at my initiation.

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Chasseurs, rituel et libert? : le sacrifice dozo comme technologie de soi

dans le mouvement Benkadi en C?te-d'lvoire


L'article affirme que dans les ann?es 1990, les chasseurs dozo de C?te-d'lvoire ont utilis? le sacrifice pour
se constituer en police officieuse au sein d'un groupement de s?curit? qu'ils ont appel? Benkadi. Les
chercheurs ont not? une ?volution similaire par laquelle d'autres chasseurs d'Afrique de l'Ouest devenaient
soldats, garde-chasse ou agents de d?veloppement, dans le contexte des changements politiques,
?conomiques et ?cologiques. Bien que ces changements aient cr?? les conditions dans lesquelles les dozos
se sont charg?s de fonctions de s?ret? nationale, ces conditions ne suffisent pas ? expliquer comment ils en
sont venus ? constituer une force de l'ordre. L'auteur explore le sacrifice des dozos comme une
? technologie de soi ?, selon les termes de Foucault, pour avancer qu'ils ont librement endoss? des r?les de
s?ret? impliquant des responsabilit?s ?thiques proches de celles implicitement contenues dans leurs
chasses et leurs pratiques occultes. Il invoque Frankl et Laidlaw pour expliquer les aspects ?motionnels et
pratiques de cet auto-fa?onnage. L'analyse culturelle des rituels des dozos ?claircit la mani?re dont ils ont
agi pour donner forme aux effets de l'?conomie et de l'?cologie politiques sur leurs pratiques.

Joseph Hellweg is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Religion at Florida State University in
Tallahassee. In addition to his work on hunters, which has also appeared in Africa and Africa Today, he is
researching local ideas about health, healing, and illness, including HIV/AIDS, in C?te d'Ivoire and Guinea.

Department of Religion, M05 Dodd Hall, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA.

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? Royal Anthropological Institute 2009

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