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Introduction: Citizenship And Its Casualties In Africa

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Chapter Summary

At the close of the twentieth century much conventional wisdom about the trajectory of Africa was finally jettisoned by policy-makers and academics alike. African states appeared to be diverging ever more profoundly from the model of the nation-state, but without it being clear what was taking its place. The discourses of nationalism and ethnicity have instead run in parallel within and across states, sometimes clashing and at other times cross-fertilising one another, the reason being that they occupy a great deal of common ground. The defence of national boundaries is predicated upon a claim to historical legitimacy. The projection of an exclusive historical project, often based upon a claim to oppression and subjugation, provides an initial boundary.

Keywords: African states; historical legitimacy; nationalism



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