Special Affinities and Conflict Resolution: West African Social Institutions and Mediation

Social scientists have identified a particular kind of interpersonal relationship in West Africa that has been variously labeled “joking kinships,” “joking relationships,” “special affinities,” “cousinage,” and “plaisanterie”. Many West Africans are connected by overlapping networks of these relationships, which can include reciprocal obligations, behavioral taboos, and stereotyping by ethnicity, region of origin, and clan affiliation.