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The Invention Of Bulongic Identity (Guinea-Conakry)

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Chapter Summary

This chapter explores local definitions of ethnic identities on the Basse Côte of Guinea-Conakry (West Africa). It looks at how Bulongic people contextually delineate their group identity using essentialist perspectives and constructivist narratives, between migration and autochthony tropes. The chapter delves into the complex relationships that they establish between their contemporary identity, their origins, their neighbors, and their language. Prolonging researches on cultural essentialism, creolization and invention, it analyzes local regimes of identity which hover between the notion of an integrated Bulongic society (as an eternal substance and permanent entity) and the vision of it as emerging out of fragmented, mixed migrants' worlds (as an imagined, constructed community). Whilst most Bulongic stress the contemporary substantial unity of their people, they also emphasize how their community has been created out of the intermingling of diverse peoples as well as how a common language played a crucial role in inventing their identity.

Keywords: Basse Côte ; Bulongic people; creolization; essentialism; Guinea-Conakry



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