Igoe, Jim. Becoming Indigenous Peoples

Published On
February 2, 2024
Original Date

Igoe, Jim. “Becoming Indigenous Peoples: Difference, Inequality, and the Globalization of East African Identity Politics.” African Affairs (London) 105, no. 420 (2006): 399–420. https://doi.org/10.1093/afraf/adi127.

Although the term ‘indigenous’ implies a state preceding that which is foreign or acquired, indigenous movements in Africa are a recent phenomenon. Drawing from the author’s research of the Tanzanian indigenous peoples’ movement in the 1990s, this article argues that indigenous identity in Tanzania does not represent miraculously preserved pre-colonial traditions or even a special sort of marginalization. Rather, it reflects the convergence of existing identity categories with shifting global structures of development and governance. Specifically, it reflects a combination of ‘cultural distinctiveness’ and effective strategies of extraversion in the context of economic and political liberalization. The Maasai, who are ‘culturally distinct’, and who have a long tradition of enrolling outsiders in their cause, naturally dominate this movement.

Source: Article's abstract

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