Presentation on theme: "Ethnicity? Tribe? Ethnic Conflict? Tribalism? What word to use? Does it matter? In colonial and postcolonial Africa."— Presentation transcript:
Ethnicity? Tribe? Ethnic Conflict? Tribalism? What word to use? Does it matter? In colonial and postcolonial Africa
Southall’s Definition of Tribe “A whole society with a high degree of self-sufficiency at a near subsistence level based on a relatively simple technology without writing or literature, politically autonomous and with its own distinctive language, culture, and sense of identity.”
“It was not that people were an undifferentiated mass, but that they were differentiated in many subtle and complex ways for different purposes” (Southall, p. 87) “Most Africans moved in and out of multiple identities, defining themselves at one moment as subject to this chief, at another moment as part of this cult, at another moment as part of this clan, and at yet another moment as an initiate in that professional guild” (Ranger, p. 603).
The invention of tribes during colonialism, Keim p. 116
“tribes” came into existence through the African encounter with colonialism Europeans grouped people together; they spoke similar languages but didn’t think of themselves as a single tribe Europeans grouped them into tribes on the basis of physical features to control them (bureaucracy and chiefs and courts) European missionaries and African intellectuals involved in language translation Colonial economy created opportunities for travel; elders re-instated tradition in order to control younger men and women Migrant men were more prone to try to promote tradition to control women in the rural areas---through hometown associations
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