The Dagomba Smock (Bim’mangli) of Northern Ghana in the Light of Contextualism and Instrumentalism Theories of Aesthetics
Keywords:Smock (Bimmangli), contextualism, instrumentalism, aesthetics, Dagomba, traditional folk historians
This study examined the implications of the Dagomba Smock (Bimmangli) in the light of contextualism and instrumentalism theories of aesthetics. The intention of the study was to find out the indigenous role plays by the Dagomba smock in the traditional lives of the people. This became necessary because the Dagomba smock remains the most valuable material culture that represents the bigger nonverbal culture of the people through the symbolism of the smock. The study employed descriptive, ethnography and content analysis of the qualitative research design in eliciting and organizing the data. Purposive and snow ball sampling techniques were used to interview 15 respondents who comprised 10 traditional folk historians, 3 smock weavers and 2 smock sewers. The oral interview used was both semi-structured and informal. The respondents expressed the indigenous uses and functions of the Dagomba smock with regard to their contextual and instrumental perspectives that conformed to the total indigenous live and culture of the Dagomba people. Results indicated that the Dagomba smock could specifically be produced for its contextual and instrumental purposes respectively. In some findings, the respondents opined that each particular smock serves for both contextual and instrumental functions depending on the formal qualities of the smock, so they finally concluded that the Dagomba smock has unique indigenous symbolic functions which is not worn for fashionable reasons.