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Nation, Ethnicity, Milieus, and Multiple “We’s”. The Case of Kenya

Development sociology, University of Bayreuth, Bayreuth 95440, Germany
Humanities 2019, 8(3), 139;
Received: 27 June 2019 / Revised: 2 August 2019 / Accepted: 2 August 2019 / Published: 12 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Future Africa—beyond the Nation?)
The title of the volume “Future Africa—beyond the nation?” has several implications. Nation is presented as an entity relevant to identification and identity; and in the combination with “future”, nation implies a political vision. It is not hard to find good examples in respect of these implications. However, there are other entities important for to political identification. Often, they do not go beyond the nation but refer to smaller collective identities, such as ethnicity. The revived debate on “the middle class” implies that particular social groupings, such as class, may play a role, too. The question is how relevant are the nation and other collective political identities in Africa, and are they exclusive? Looking at the case of Kenya, we see on the one hand that collective (political) identities, such as ethnicity, are mobilized especially during elections. On the other hand, these collective identities are less dominant in everyday life and give way to different conducts of life (conceptualized as “milieus”) that are less politicized. We see people maneuvering between multiple “we’s”. Strong political identities are mobilized only in particular conflict-loaded situations that restructure identities in simple binary oppositions of “we” and “they”. View Full-Text
Keywords: nation; identity; Kenya; ethnicity; class; milieu; Africa nation; identity; Kenya; ethnicity; class; milieu; Africa
MDPI and ACS Style

Neubert, D. Nation, Ethnicity, Milieus, and Multiple “We’s”. The Case of Kenya. Humanities 2019, 8, 139.

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