Departmental Bulletin Paper Potentials of African Pastoralism: Practice of Citizenship for Livelihood in East African Pastoral Society

HAZAMA, Itsuhiro

56pp.33 - 52 , 2018-03 , The Research Committee for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
In non-Western societies, citizenship is often discussed as a conceptual tool to reinforce colonial rule and orientalism. In the African context, ethnic groups, which form the cultural basis of ethnic citizenship, are believed to hinder the maturity of nation-states. Thus, the term “citizen” with respect to Africa is often regarded as an empty concept. Along these lines, this paper examines citizenship in indigenous African communities by focusing on the everyday citizenship practices of autonomous East African pastoralist societies. Rather than claim citizen rights from the state, these pastoralists have constituted moral communities with alternative citizenship agendas, which serve to maintain public security and individual livelihoods. By addressing the question of the impasse to citizenship and the logic by which East African pastoralists challenge fixed Western categorizations, this paper highlights the need to flexibly reconceptualize citizenship to create new inclusive spaces uninfluenced by race, ethnicity, class, gender, or geography.

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