Ethnicity, violence, and the immigrant-guest metaphor in Kenya

Jenkins, Sarah (2012) Ethnicity, violence, and the immigrant-guest metaphor in Kenya. African Affairs, 111 (445). 576–596. ISSN 0001-9909

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Kenya's enduring ethnic violence is frequently explained with reference to the mobilization of ethnicity from above, and relatively little attention has been paid to the participation of ordinary people. Focusing on the violence that followed the 2007 general elections, this article explores how bottom-up processes of identification and violence interacted with incitement from above. It argues that autochthonous discourses of belonging and exclusion engendered an understanding of ethnic others as ‘immigrants’ and ‘guests’, and these narratives of territorialized identity both reinforced elite manipulation and operated independently of it. Kenya's post-election violence can thus be understood as a bottom-up performance of narratives of ethnic territorial exclusion operating alongside more direct elite involvement, organization, and incitement. The durability of these narratives, as well as their inherent plasticity, has significant implications for the potential for further violence and the prospects for democratization.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: sdg 16 - peace, justice and strong institutions ,/dk/atira/pure/sustainabledevelopmentgoals/peace_justice_and_strong_institutions
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Global Development (formerly School of International Development)
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2018 13:30
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2023 23:47
DOI: 10.1093/afraf/ads051

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