Print this page Share

Political Oratory and Cartooning: An Ethnography of Democratic Process in Madagascar

ISBN: 978-1-118-30606-2
288 pages
March 2013, Wiley-Blackwell
Political Oratory and Cartooning: An Ethnography of Democratic Process in Madagascar (1118306066) cover image


Jackson traces the lively skirmishes between Madagascar’s political cartoonists and politicians whose cartooning and public oratory reveal an ever-shifting barometer of democracy in the island nation. 

  • The first anthropological study of the role of language and rhetoric in reshaping democracy
  • Maps the dynamic relationship between formalized oratory, satire, and political change in Madagascar
  • A fascinating analysis of the extraordinary Ciceronian features of kabary, a style of formal public oratory long abandoned in the West
  • Documents the management by United States Democrat campaign advisors of a foreign presidential bid, unprecedented in the post-colonial era
See More

Table of Contents

List of Figures viii

Note on Orthography x

Acknowledgments xi

Preface xiv

1 Introduction: "Look Out! The Sleeping Locusts Awake" 1

2 A History of Language and Politics in Madagascar 18

3 The Structural and Social Organization of Kabary Politika 65

4 The Structural and Social Organization of Kisarisary Politika (Political Cartooning) 92

5 Building Publics through Interanimating and Shifting Registers 117

6 "Stop Acting Like a Slave": The Ideological and Aesthetic Dimensions of Syntax and Register in Political Kabary and Political Cartooning 157

7 "That's What You Think": Arguing Representations of Truth in Language 193

8 Conclusion: The Constraints and Possibilities of Democracy 214

Index 241

See More

Author Information

Jennifer Jackson is Assistant Professor in the Anthropology Department at the University of California, Los Angeles. Since 1994, her research has focused on Madagascar and the US, spanning studies in semiotics, language ideologies and aesthetics, and verbal and visual artistic performance in political practice related to the formation of democracy, civil society and statehood.
See More


"It is highly recommended to all and Wiley-Blackwell should be persuaded to circulate a reasonably priced paper edition immediately.”  (American Ethnologist, 16 February 2014)

“Insightful, detailed, and substantial, this book has much to say to students of language and followers of politics, not to mention those of us passionate about both and how they interact.”
- Virginia R. Dominguez, Gutgsell Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

“Why don't more people write books like this? Jennifer Jackson's brilliant insights on Malagasy cartooning, oratory, and political culture are not only a breath of fresh air for the anthropological study of political language, but a genuinely creative contribution to the study of global democracy.”
- David Graeber, Goldsmiths, University of London

See More
Back to Top