Pulaaku: Adamawa Fulbe identity and its transformations
This dissertation examines the concept of pulaaku in its diverse manifestations in Adamawa Fulbe society, Gongola State, Nigeria. Based upon three years of ethnographic research, including participant observation, focused interviews, and questionnaire surveys, the study seeks to provide an extended definition of pulaaku, accounting for its variable uses in different contexts: rural (nomads and villagers) and urban, and between youths and elders. It also explores the pervasiveness of pulaaku, within Fulbe social institutions, both past and present.^ It is argued that pulaaku, a concept rooted in the pastoral Fulbe heritage, embodies Fulbe indentity and a system of morality, entailing restraint, endurance, and a strong sense of shame, together with an aloofness and a drive to domination, all of which codify social interactions. As a birth-acquired element and an ethnic marker, it distinguishes the Fulbe from other people and it "Fulbe-izes" their behavior.^ In its association with Fulbe morality and identity, pulaaku has become ubiquitous in Fulbe institutions. It prescribes respectful interactions among kin and is suggestive about marriage arrangements, which the Fulbe see as preserving their integrity. It is also prescriptive about the qualities which will make one a good leader or a prestigious person, and it reinforces strict adherence to the obligations of Islam. Pulaaku is thus a kind of fervor which is reflected in many Fulbe behaviors and institutions.^ Pulaaku has also played a role in Adamawa history, where Fulbe have sought to be distinct from other peoples. It has often been emphasized to enhance Fulbe unity and their domination of traditional and modern politics. Moreover, it has helped the Fulbe to adjust to such changes as Islamization, the rise of a cash economy, and the rise of the Fulbe state, by incorporating new concepts within its subsidiary components.^ Pulaaku, it it concluded, is best understood as a key concept: it contains a broad array of contextually relevant meanings and it penetrates into the core of the Fulbe identity. It is also a key symbol which, by reference to Fulbe heritage, orders Fulbe experience and makes intelligible the diverse facets of Fulbe identity and the rigid Fulbe moral code. ^
Anthropology, Cultural|History, African
Catherine Ver Eecke,
"Pulaaku: Adamawa Fulbe identity and its transformations"
(January 1, 1988).
Dissertations available from ProQuest.