The Force of Action: Legitimizing the Coup in Bamako, Mali

Bruce Whitehouse

Abstract


The coup d’état that occurred in Bamako in March 2012 brought a previously unknown army captain named Amadou Sanogo to power. This paper analyses Malian media reports to explore how Sanogo and his associates sought to legitimize their takeover with reference to local conceptions of heroism, power and destiny, and how Sanogo’s public image resonated with time-honoured narratives about heroic figures in Malian culture. This case demonstrates that understanding religious worldviews is essential for understanding the workings of political power.

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