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Bruce Berman (1991), "Nationalism, Ethnicity and Modernity: The Paradox of Mau Mau," Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 181–206.

Bruce Berman (1991), "Nationalism, Ethnicity and Modernity: The Paradox of Mau Mau," Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 181–206.

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Bruce Berman (1991), "Nationalism, Ethnicity and Modernity: The Paradox of Mau Mau," Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 181–206.
Bruce Berman (1991), "Nationalism, Ethnicity and Modernity: The Paradox of Mau Mau," Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines, Vol. 25, No. 2, pp. 181–206.

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Nationalism, Ethnicity, and Modernity: The Paradox of Mau MauAuthor(s): Bruce J. BermanSource:
Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue Canadienne des Études Africaines,
Vol.25, No. 2 (1991), pp. 181-206Published by:
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Nationalism,Ethnicity,andModernity:TheParadoxof MauMauBruceJ.Berman
RgsumrnLefacteuraucentredel'intiritque'oncontinuedeporterauxMauMauestsarelationparadoxaleavec lenationalismeauKenya.LesdeuxinterpritationsdominantesdesMau Mau-cultereligieuxdimoniaqueetnationalismemilitant-taienttoutesdeuxbasdesurlesespirancesde lathdoriedelamodernisationoncernantedeveloppementinkvitabled'tats-nationssiculaires.Mais ellesmettaient nvaleursoitrespectivementesaspectsculturels,soit lesaspectsmatiriels dumouvementMau Mau. Onnepeutcomprendreesdiffirencesqu'enles reliantaux contextesolitiquesdiffirentsdes annies
50o
et6o.LeconceptdeBenedictAnderson elonequelenationalismeerait une"com-munautdmagine"conduit6unemeilleureomprdhensionesMau Maucommefaisantpartied'uncombatsur lesens del'ethnicitrKikuyuet sarelationprobldmatiquevec lesdivisionsnternesde classeset lessolidaritisauniveau nationalpluslarge.Introduction:TheContinuingFascinationofMauMauWhatwasMau Mau?Whatwas itssignificanceinthehistoryofKenyaor,morebroadly,thehistoryofcolonialAfrica?What can anunderstandingofMauMautell usaboutthecolonialconfrontation ofAfrican"tradition"andWestern"modernity"?Almostforty yearsafterthe colonialauthorities inNairobideclaredastate ofemergencytocrushwhattheyinsisted was asavageandwhollyevilsecretcult,conclusiveanswers tothesequestionsremainelusive."The horrorstoryoftheEmpireinthe1950s,"asJohnLonsdalecallsit,continuestobeasourceofpoliticalandintellectualcontroversy.'Duringthe1970sandagaininthemid-I98os,Kenyanintellectuals andpoliticalfiguresclashedoverconflictinginterpretationsofMauMau,withmanyagingex-MauMaufightersalsojumpingintothefray (Odhiambo,1988;Maughan-Brown,1985, 20-22)ThehistoricalandfictionalwritingsonMauMau ofKenya'sleadingintellectualdissidents,NgugiwaThiong'oandMainawaKinyatti,werefactorsintheirdetentionandexile(NgugiandMicereMugo1976;Ngugi1983;waKinyatti1985,1987).Academicinterest inMauMauhassurgedoncemore,with awholeseries ofmonographsandpapersappearingsince1986whichexplore yetagainitsnature andplaceinthepol-itics ofcolonialandpost-colonialKenya(Kanogo 1987;Throup 1987;Edgerton1989;Furedi1989;Presley 1988;Gordon1986;Berman1990).Central tothedebatesoverMau Mau isthenatureofitsrelationshiptonation-
181
 
182CJASRCEA5:21991alism inKenya.Wasit aparochialtribaluprisingorthe centralepisodeofKenya'snationalliberationstruggle?Werethe MauMauforestfighterstribaltraditionalistsornationalistpatriots?DespiteitsmilitarydefeatbyImperialforces,didMauMauforcetheBritish into social andpoliticalreforms which led toindependenceunderanAfricangovernment?IfMau Maufoughtfornationalliberation,whywasitunable toarticulateatrans-ethnic nationalideology?Thisarticle addressesthesequestionsthrougha criticalexamination oftheconflictinginterpretationsofMauMau'srelationshipwithnationalism,followedbyaplausiblereconstruction oftherelationshipsuggested byanunderstandingoftheinternalconflicts inKikuyusocietyinthefirstdecadeafter World WarII.
MauMau:Anti-NationalismorMilitantNationalism?
Inthelate1940scolonialofficialsfirstbecame aware of awhattheybelieved wasasecretorganizationamongAfrican farmlabourersontheEuropeanestatesoftheRiftValleywhichtheynamed "MauMau."ThroughtheyearsoftheEmergencyfrom1952toi960,andinto thefirstyearsofKenya'sindependenceafter1963,thedominantinterpretationofthisphenomenonfocused on itsessentiallytribalandreligiouscharacter. Thisview,withvariations,comprisedtheconventionalwis-domabout MauMau shared notonly bycolonialofficials inNairobiandLondon,whitesettlers,andmissionariesbutalsoby journalistsandacademiccommenta-torsfromBritainandseveralothercountries.Inthe mostcoherentofficialversion,"MauMauwasdepictedas asavage,violent,anddepravedtribalcult,anexpressionofunrestrainedemotionratherthanreason. ItsoughttoturntheKikuyupeoplebackto"thebad olddays"beforeenlightenedBritishrulehadbroughttheblessingsofmodemcivilizationanddevelopment.When thefirstreportsofsomethingcalled"MauMau" reachedtheProvincialAdministrationandtheKenyaPolicein1948-49,itwasimmediatelyidentified as a"dini"orreligiouscult.As late asFebruary1953,theCommissionerofPolicewaspassingonreportsthat linkedMau Mauwith theDiniya Msambwa,whichhadviolentlyclashedwithgovernmentforces afewyearsbefore.3 Thegov-ernmmentlsoclaimedthatMauMauhademergedamongaparticularlyunstablepeoplewhohaddifficultyadjustingto thestrainsofrapidsocialchangeandmod-ernization.Playing upontheirmorbid fearsandsuperstitions,MauMauturnedtheKikuyuintosavageandmaniacalkillers.Governmentintelligencereportsdweltonthe"insanefrenzy"and"fanaticaldiscipline"of MauMauadherents.4Ithadbeendeliberatelyorganized,accordingtothegovernment,bycynicalandunprincipledleaders,seeking onlytosatisfytheirownlustforpower.Further-more,officialsrepeatedlyinsistedthatMauMauwasnotaresponsetoeconomicdeprivationandmaterialgrievancesarisingoutofcolonialism,butrather was anirrationalrejectionof thebenefitsofdevelopment.This viewled themto stressrepeatedlytheessentiallyatavisticcharacterof MauMau.AstheBritishparlia-mentarydelegationwhichvisitedKenyain1954putit,"MauMauintentionally

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