"[Ernest Gellner] began the association with Morocco and the Berbers of the Central High Atlas that resulted in Saints of the Atlas. It was a study of how holy men kept a fragile and broken peace among the shepherds who moved each spring from the plains of the ante-Atlas into the high pastures, and back again each autumn: a hundred thousand people, a million or so sheep traversing the bottle-necks of the mountain passes twice each year. It was an ideal opportunity for theft and rustling, and the Saints were there to maintain the peace without establishing any acceptable claim to political control. His book, criticised by scholars who have worked in Moroccan archives, remains important reading because it analyses so clearly the ways in which pastoral peoples, who had been in contact with states for a couple of millennia, maintained an ideology of total rejection of the Moroccan state, and a determination not to make anything of the kind themselves. Their practice was more often than not in accord with the ideology."--Http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/gellner/JDavisObit.html (Feb. 23, 2011.).
Author: Ernest Gellner
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson
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