The Perils of Belonging: Autochthony, Citizenship, and by Peter Geschiere

By Peter Geschiere

Regardless of being advised that we now reside in a worldly global, increasingly more humans have started to say their identities in ways in which are deeply rooted within the neighborhood. those claims of autochthony—meaning “born from the soil”—seek to set up an irrefutable, primordial correct to belong and are frequently hired in politically charged makes an attempt to exclude outsiders. within the Perils of Belonging, Peter Geschiere strains the idea that of autochthony again to the classical interval and incisively explores the assumption in very assorted contexts: Cameroon and the Netherlands.            In either nations, the momentous financial and political alterations following the top of the chilly warfare fostered nervousness over migration. For Cameroonians, the query of who belongs the place rises to the fore in political struggles among assorted tribes, whereas the Dutch invoke autochthony in fierce debates over the mixing of immigrants. This attention-grabbing comparative standpoint permits Geschiere to check the emotional allure of autochthony—as good as its doubtful ancient basis—and to make clear a number very important matters, similar to multiculturalism, nationwide citizenship, and migration.

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Extra resources for The Perils of Belonging: Autochthony, Citizenship, and Exclusion in Africa and Europe

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Had been lifted and the old tensions began to boil over again. Such a traditionalizing view severely underrates the degree to which the autochthonous subject is shaped by broader processes: struggles over local belonging are closely intertwined with the desire to be recognized as a citizen of the world. A key role in this is played by les originaires—the “sons of the soil” who left the village and made their careers elsewhere, in the city or even in diaspora. They are often central in raising the autochthony issue, but mainly as part of their struggle for special access to national or global circuits.

The focus is on the question of how similar languages of autochthony can acquire great persuasive self-evidence and hence great mobilizing force in widely different circumstances. Chapters 2 through 4 take up spectacular but quite differently oriented outbursts of autochthony on the African continent. Chapters 2 and 3 are based on research I undertook with a number of Cameroonian colleagues— notably Francis Nyamnjoh, Antoine Socpa, and Basile Ndjio—in different parts of Cameroon. Chapter 2 discusses violent manifestations by autochthons in close relation with the politics of belonging of President 36 chapter one Paul Biya’s former one-party regime.

How can it evoke such deep emotions and a sensation of deep truth despite all the variations involved? Are there any limits to its apparent self-evidence? An obvious starting point for explorations in this direction is to take the reference to the soil, basic to the notion, seriously and to try to follow it in its different implications and elaborations. Even in such places as present-day Flanders and the Netherlands, where people hardly seem to be conscious any more that the notion is centered in the soil, the reference still has power.

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