Presentation on theme: "Lecture 16 Ethnicity, nationalism and conflict. Ethnicity: process not thing John Comaroff: identity is not a thing but a relation Historical construction."— Presentation transcript:
Ethnicity: process not thing John Comaroff: identity is not a thing but a relation Historical construction of particular ethnic identifications as they are rooted in particular historic and social conditions The making of any concrete ethnic identity occurs in minutiae of everyday practice How is the reality of any identity realised, how is its essence essentialised and objectified?
Hutchinson: Nuer Ethnicity Militarised Performative: flexible boundaries, acceptance as being a member of a group depends on a person conforming to the moral norms of behaviour within the group Primordialist: fixed group boundaries and membership is only recognised by virtue of direct descent - shared blood
Nuer and Dinka Movement of people between groups through marriage, conquest and settlement Inclusive concept of group membership among the Nuer turned outsiders into insiders What made someone Nuer was primarily how that person behaved - language, cattle, co-residence, community participation and moral conformity
Sudanese civil war Prohibitions on killing women, children and the elderly Split in SPLA into factions led by a Nuer and a Dinka Suspension of taboos on intra-group homicide in the context of a government war Introduction of guns and of novel fighting techniques - women and children became targets. Reformulation of the presumed socio-physical roots of ethnic affiliations - fixed at birth
Walsh: ethnic identities in Madagascar Inclusive model: being Antankarana is about land you live on and accepting the moral and political authority of the ruler Exclusive model: Antankarana is the name given to a single tribe or ethnic group indigenous to the Antankarana region and characterised by a unique complex of linguistic traits, taboos and customs.
Influence of the state French colonial practices of administration and rule objectified the Antankarana The rulers themselves benefited since this reinforced their authority Being identified or identifiable as one thing or another can have real consequences Both these models of identity can be simultaneously evident.
Soviet nationalities policy Stalin: each people constituted a stable community characterised by language, culture and shared territory Evolutionary path of development to statehood The peoples of the Soviet Union were ascribed a nationality on the basis of their level of development
Nationalist in form, socialist in content Paraphernalia of statehood: flag and anthem, a head of state, and ministries Nationally defined Great traditions: writers unions, theatres, opera companies, and national academies that specialised in national history, literature and language
Citizenship regimes Policy of korenizatsia (nativisation) Interest in adopting official national status Post-Soviet nation-building: replace Communism with ethno-nationalism
Uzbekness Oltin meros (golden heritage): Islamic history, past literary figures and historical rulers such as Amir Timur National character stereotypes Local social forms - family and the mahalla (neighbourhood organisation) State as the mahalla writ large
Michael Herzfeld: cultural intimacy Self stereotypes, self defined national traits, and collective myths of an edenic past order Legitimate rule - timeless and natural Alternative interpretations