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Nation, Ethnicity, And Citizenship: Dilemmas Of Democracy And Civil Order In Africa

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Chapter Summary

This chapter presents three critical identities in Africa: nationality, ethnicity and citizenship. It explores them in comparative perspective, and examines their interaction with a pair of defining processes of recent years, democratisation and civil disorder. The intertwined selfhoods of nationality, ethnicity and citizenship frame much of political agency. From its initial European base, the idea of nationalism has migrated throughout the globe. In the process, nationalism has adapted to very different circumstances and environments. The swift imperial conquest of Africa, especially during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, resulted in major re-workings of existing identities. The colonial state imposed three axes of classification of the African subject: racially, as an African; territorially, as a native of the units of colonial partition; and ?tribal', as a member of an ethnic category. Democratisation changed the rules of politics in ways which brought ethnicity into the open.

Keywords: African citizenship; democratisation; ethnicity; nationalism



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