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For Money and EldersRitual, Sovereignty, and the Sacred in Kenya$
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Robert W. Blunt

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226655611

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226655895.001.0001

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Old Age and Money: The General Numismatics of Independent Kenya

Old Age and Money: The General Numismatics of Independent Kenya

(p.91) 4 Old Age and Money: The General Numismatics of Independent Kenya
For Money and Elders

Robert W. Blunt

University of Chicago Press

Chapter Four tracks how earlier transformations of Kikuyu notions of elderhood became generalized in the national imagination after independence. The chapter argues that in an effort to put Mau Mau’s violence to rest, President Jomo Kenyatta attempted to re-emplace this same colonial understanding of the sovereign as lawgiver in “traditional” terms, but as the lord of value rather than law. The chapter provides a concise history of the money form in Kenya through a discussion of the semiotics of money and empire, to show the elective affinity between the colonial Christian understandings of sovereignty and the general equivalence of the money form.

Keywords:   semiotics of money, Jomo Kenyatta, postcolonial Kenya, the Mzee, gerontocracy, Central Bank of Kenya, patrimonial politics

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