Autochthony and the Crisis of Citizenship: Democratization, Decentralization, and the Politics of Belonging Author(s): Peter Geschiere and

Stephen Jackson Reviewed work(s): Source: African Studies Review, Vol. 49, No. 2 (Sep., 2006), pp. 1-7 Published by: African Studies Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20065238 . Accessed: 28/10/2011 06:05
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Globalization and Identity: Dialectics of Flow and Closure (with Birgit Meyer) (Blackwell 1999). (Congo). regional journals Political African nent and publications. How force can under "naturalness" seem so autochthony and similar very slogans self-evident Another mobilizing somewhat different circumstances? of discourses recurrent They is the to surprising "nervousness" of being rooted turns out to be really" belonging." the apparent in the and exclusion of belonging to this issue concerns special different such settings. Stephen the Jackson is currently with secretary-general He holds (MONUC). was main in West fieldwork lage Communities (KPI. in the of belonging. His conflict interests economy political in humanitarian violence. in cultural include and the practice linkages. research special the adviser United Nations to the of representative deputy special in the DR Mission Congo from Princeton Univer anthropology of war. and conflict formations. as a soil form primal a basic security promise Yet in practice. and the Politics of Decentralization. 1997) . global/local the political a Ph. and The Forging ofNationhood (with Gyanendra Pandey) (Manohar. in a number of promi and the Review Africaine of Economy. together question of of All with and similar "autochthony" over the world. University Publications include His Vil Columbia (Paris). notably the State: Relations in South Cameroun Changing of Authority Encroachment and Old Modes Production: of Anthropological (KPI. at the of Ams University the Universities of Kisangani and at EHESS (Johannesburg) (New York). 1 sity. Belonging Peter Geschiere and Stephen Jackson Abstract: certainly ization The not seem A recent special to go central upsurge to Africa. University. School Cameroon. and Capitalist and Africa. relative: there is always the danger always a "fake" autochthon. processes fierce struggles contributions in highly hence have theme seem over notions of of belonging global is intensifying "strangers. Volume for a 49. appeared politico-ethnic His work has including Politique the postcolonial state. belonging as "not of being unmasked A comparative perspective Studies African Peter Geschiere terdam.and the Crisis of Autochthony Citizenship: Democratization. affairs. 1-14 2006). . He Review.D. 1982). Number 2 is professor has been Yaounde the anthropology professor Witwatersrand The New (September of Africa at visiting (Cameroon). pp. TheModernity of Explorations in Africa (withWim van Binsbergen) Witchcraft: Politics and theOccult inPostcolonial Africa (Virginia. or even of being on autochthony. principles of ethnic manipulation identity. 2003). 1985).

luttes acharn?es autour centrale "naturelle" R?sum?: r?cente du concept pas de d'autochtonie sp?cifique ? et des l'Afrique. racines. across issue shows. this brandishing notions of belonging actually masks is the varying relation the continent highly different claims especially. when nation-building ceding actors as the primary precondition for develop regimes and expatriate and ment. une comme ?tre consid?r? pour Opter perspective comme forme de retranchement. porteuse singuli?re veut que rait aider ? d?m?ler globalisant. aller notions Partout de paire similaires dans avec le des La est dif soi certainement intensifi?s de qui du l'id?e se la globalisation semblent et d'exclusion d'appartenance d?gage des probl?matique l'apparence f?rents. ative de l'autochtonie. excluding the all those same Ian (trunk). forcibly of on the the violent conti to which autochtonie tragic example stretched. autochthony has come to mean a much more restricted who are and smaller not of the scale redefinition Ivoirian souche of the nation. between of pre the shibboleth the idea of national citizenship. Striking." d?masqu? n'appartenant un "faux" autochtone. to La pouss?e n'est d'appartenance les processus monde. Africa belonging and has seemed many beset of by ever more them expressed violent through struggles a resur exclusion. by inference. primale d'appartenance. term literally {autochtonie in French)?a gent language of "autochthony" a direct an origin "of the soil itself and meaning. In Ivory Coast. Elsewhere nent. orders of exclu of to Yet. sion struggles expressed over belonging in the vernacular have of led to similarly violent autochthony. les paradoxes li?s ? la pr?occupation de forme la pratique le danger ou m?me compar pour dans l'appartenance un monde Since over the 1990s. autochthony was still seen by both postcolonial decades. et avoir Un autre contributions dans de principe que des d'autochtonie slogans identiques tel dans palpable li?e des des "?trangers. . In Cameroon.2 African Studies Review on autochthony?as the paradoxes a particular of the pregnant form with of unravel preoccupation belonging entrenchment?may in a globalizing help world. se r?v?le comme relative: il y a toujours toujours l'appartenance comme et d?nonc? d'?tre "pas r?ellement. as this special similar emotion-laden patterns. implying claim to territory. Over the last few years. Ivory Coast has suf fered under separating extremes the violence "true" Ivoirians of President from "fake" can be Gbagbo's ones: a jeunes combatants. for example. l'?tab th?me Ils semblent lissant ainsi promettre comme s?curit? ?l?mentaire ? l'ancrage Et cependant." ce num?ro sp?cial contextes des tr?s sembler aller de Comment ainsi un se fait-il pouvoir r?current une une puissent de mobilisation est la "nervosit?" circonstances des discours de des si diff?rentes? l'autochtonie.

terms: the New World Or to put it in different so proudly at the end Order that George Bush Sr. It is therefore African conflicts around autochthony have to be seen in the broader con text of what Tanja Murray Li (2000) calls most aptly "a global conjuncture of belonging. Clearly. indeed it turns out to be slippery autochthony and unstable. yet immigrants Cameroonian In Eastern Congo/Zaire. the violent struggles they do not really belong.1 and therefore such great popular appeal in strikingly This question is all the more relevant if one takes into account that in are the context of our supposedly "globalizing" world. all sorts of paradoxes of globalization. emotional issue. in this issue Bambi Ceuppens shows how the lan resonance on the has acquired considerable guage of autochthony politi cal right in Flanders and the Netherlands. (and others) announced of the Cold War is less an order of cosmopolitan in citizens circulating flows than one of communal violence and efforts to exclude people global who do not "belong. of different self-evident different meaning situations. processes emerge. Thus. years (Jackson forthcoming izenship in preceding in such highly different of a notion the meaning like settings. It is all the more striking. through a One comparison it strikes of the such a deep aims of this cases." unrelated and eco Apparently global trends?political concerns over nomic liberalization. which intensifying Yet in this respect as well. then. such preoccupations certainly not limited to Africa. decentralization. As Jean-Francois Bayart shows with such a rich array of empirical The . or belonging is not a given. This aspect is certainly present manipulation cases examined in this issue of ASR. that these notions seem to to those who regularly use them. retain such therefore. but such manipulation can be success ful only because population.Autochthony and the Crisis of Citizenship 3 guage is used to challenge in a certain region the very may idea of uniform claim to be national citizenship: citizens."2 Ruth Marshall-Fratani calls it in great "performative quality"?as to this issue?of her contribution similar languages of belonging in very different of the world bears some relation to what many see as the parts seems to be surpassed by "crisis" of the nation-state. It would be have such great self-evidence too simplistic to explain the upsurge of these ideas as the result of political in all the by certain leaders. global "disappearing to converge in a deepening cultures. off-again manipulations of their national cit and this volume). how these chord with is to can notions the general understand. over the belonging of peoples of Rwandan/Burundian descent (including can only be understood the enigmatic against the back Banyamulenge) ground of Mobutu's on-again. One of the intriguing aspects of the concept of autochthony is the surprising ease with which it bridges the gap between South and North." and decreasing biodiversity?seem concern about belonging. Sloganeering about autochthon in Italy by Umberto Bossi and his Lega Nord in an rights has been adopted discourse also has a long his attempt to redefine his "Other". autochthony clear that tory in Canada and is on the rise in the Pacific.

their equally should Rule and la politique des races were inspired by the idea that people to facilitate in order be kept where them. attached citizenship." and more important. of such historical background to this special issue give an indication of the star The contributions con that have emerged from this complex varieties of autochthony tling . and to territorialize effort by colonial regimes people. as more locals. to have been detonated by the twin and decentralization which so deeply marked The return of multipartyism and the fact that met with great popular enthusiasm. the recent upsurge of conflict over In Africa. sorts of measures to encourage migrants. Both Indirect common preference for migrants. processes the latter has seemed rather and its institutions crystallize. A the colonial heritage played a complicating background over the continent was between recurrent the formal all contradiction on the one hand. with an increasing role to play in protecting autochthony to enforce an often impossible immigration by attempting by contrast. elections became meaningful again But in many regions these developments also triggered fear among local more numerous that they would be outvoted by populations immigrants. In many respects processes. encouraged. These new developments have to be seen against a longer historical in which role. and autochthony belonging of democratization processes the 1990s on the continent. Questions arose as to "who can vote where. as a candidate (For example." difference to be held itself in the particular also manifests globalization In Europe. people The pre mix of struggles its also have to be seen against the and other forms of belonging. still form to graft itself onto globalization the framework through which these But process the nation-state and deterring "integration. "who can seems stand belongs.3 hardworking The consequence migration to the and enterprising. However. or "obdurate" policy: somehow precarious in many to remain over contexts. "the immigrant issue" provided responsible. does not belong? shouldn't he do so in his home village?) The abrupt switch by the development establishment?the a strongly statist con World Bank and the major bilateral donors?from to a policy of decentralization and "by-passing the ception of development state" raised similar that cases. was was village with a colonials compared migrants even labor" were sent-day favorably.4 African Studies Review examples processes in Le Governement duMonde have really led to a weakening (2004). identity they belong ruling this was countered in practice by all should be rooted in the soil. of the it is far from clear that global nation-state per se. on the other. Unfailingly. is questions: supposed the result was who to profit an can claim a to "really" belong to the pro chang "community" In many from explosion new-style of fuzzy development and rapidly ject? ing identities." can an inciting immigrant fierce run discord for mayor about in a where city where one he If he wants to go into politics. autochthony inconsistencies. at the same uncomfortable to "indolent" "migrant but time. where.

the constantly changing boundaries created by globalization processes and . leading to violent con frontations with all sorts of supposed "newcomers. needs a name.Autochthony and the Crisis of Citizenship 5 a vivid account of Laurent Ruth Marshall-Fratani offers figuration. but they also fan out in other directions. to unprecedented limits. The con from that of Africa. Self-styled "autochthons" insisted that even if immi land. used such divisions Alec Leonhardt dis eagerly cusses the complex of the new emphasis on autochthony for implications Cameroon's these people can claim to be the Baka "Pygmies. is in prac tice a historical construct that can be readapted to changing circumstances." Loren Landau shows for postapartheid how growing resentment of immigrants Johannesburg from across the Limpopo reinforces not only a joint (the Makwere-kwere) sense of belonging among the various South African groups in the city. to become violent only when the full implications of the new style of elec tions became clear. group needs none of this: only a claim to having been the first. a similar authors. more pliable form of & Nyamnjoh (see Geschiere 2000). despite its apparent primordialism. son shows they seem not how the "nervous to qualify as Cameroonian of autochthony citizens. allog?nes. para doxically. aura of self-evidence shows in of this case Ceuppens reflects. but they are hardly considered as such because. a determined "traditional" globalization In terms of our underlying how notions of autochthony question?of can retain such "natural" self-evidence and belonging in strikingly different contexts?two recurrent points stand out." while the Biya regime to divide the opposition. ethnicity a specific has some history. these Ceuppens Makwere-kwere's studies the emer as a powerful gence of autochthony text may be completely different acquires the other ities. Bambi Finally. Yet by comparison ing: an ethnic with autochthony. Antoine the quite autochthony Socpa analyzes different triangle of autochtons." In principle real autochthons. in the Stephen specific Jack con language" text of Eastern Zaire/Congo has led to a true explosion of fuzzy and con on belonging redefined identities on multiple scales. but also ideas a stereotyping their about that own completely misrepresents future. Debates stantly may focus for now on the contested of the Banyamulenge/Ban citizenship yarwanda. One of the secrets of this broadly to a new and even its attachment applied language is its relative emptiness. Like even continu effort refusal to of autochthony access to as well. they should not use the new political opportuni grants had bought ties in order to rule in the "home of their host. in C?te d'Ivoire?notably experiments Gbagbo's terrifying nation-building the proposed Op?ration Nationale which takes the idea of d'Identification. gain change. yet the notion and that a similar if there more than a emotional are certain force. processes political slogan in Flanders. the cap Here the land issue has a long history. but it threatened ital of Cameroon. sort of core mean often a language. By now ethnicity it seems clear that ethnicity.4 Autochthony it is this very emptiness that seems to make it fit so very well into Indeed. and the state in Yaounde.

and wake traitor.6 African Studies Review that makes logues. Acknowledgments With in all only its different in rela and Ron Kassimir. cover?take be a For Africa. it away tempting the and one. about belonging a basic than a given. Paris: Fayard. Yet In can practice.5 truth-claim to relative. The fuzzy ones?can it so politically "Other"?crucial be easily a discourse "useful" and malleable for ideo to such to any form of identity but especially precisely because autochthony an as such redefined. never be on in everyday life compound rather insecurity. 2002:7) and AbdouMaliq seems to imply a return to the local and a cel that such discourse?which is highly deceiving?which ebration of origins?reflects in practice a determined struggle about access to the global. . easily acquire Simone (2001:25) strongly emphasize (2001:283. 2004. is as a This goes autochthony. there iswhat might seems the even to bed to be be called inherent the dan "segmentarizing" to define tendency someone is that ger one As Cameroonian discourse: closer range." Autochthony up to find that you have become and so there is always the danger of being unmasked always relative. concomitant than an you claim it: skeptic "belong" can go more as do. November 2004. has hardly any substance. Le Gouvernment du monde?Une critique politique de la globalisation. autochthon an allog?ne. one of "belonging" sure that one autochthony The "naturalizing" discourse and belonging may explain also why it can so For Africa. who played such a seminal role SSRC. authoritarianism communal image all the Yet on it becomes clear that autochthony closer inspection forms and with its strong emotional appeal can be understood tion to incisive global changes. J. Bayart. The contributions of belonging" below "conjuncture as reflecting an it is to take the upsurge of belonging show how misleading effort of old to return to some as tensions sort a kind flare of "traditional" of manhole up again?may situation.-F. highlighted particularly seems to promise a primal security. both Achille violent Mbembe implications. tenor to the land. ever to 'You then. Autochthony some way to explaining the "nervousness" of the language of in Jackson's contribution below. This may be a crucial point to make about the present-day all over the world. who played an thanks to Alcinda Honwana the of this theme within role in setting up earlier discussions inspiring to Catherine and especially Boone. tenor the can A related of these "Other" always put at point. based as it is on some sort of primordial it seems turns "really" out rather to be belongs. many in co-organizing and co-chairing the two panels on this theme at the annual ASA References conference in New Orleans.

the Nation: 2001." Loraux. and Peter Geschiere. and International Ethics Congo. Esprit Meyer. "On the Worldling of African Cities. Oxford: 2001." Public Culture 12 (2): 432-53. Geschiere. below." African Simone. eds. Nicole. Politique the NewNativism?Introduction. Yet a claim around claim itself in most practice. and 'Nationality Question' in East Affairs (forthcoming). Paris: Le Seuil. autochthony See Birgit relation See There 3. as a "dialectics of flow the and explosive closure. movements tlement. Meyer between and Peter Geschiere and (2005). This itself on being the only autochthony. 2001. lypse 627-51. in the and Peter Geschiere. ern D. John "Naturing Postcolonial State." Southern of African Journal Francis 2000.R. Achille. Stephen." Beyond "Ways of Seeing: Africains: entre nativisme et "The Banyamulenge 2006. Ceuppens is an globalization and Geschiere catch soil identity means erally this subject. Blackwell. N? African Studies Review 44 (2): 1-14. 1996. Flow and Closure. book lit on who characterize (1999). 1999. "Capitalism the and Autochthony: The Seesaw of Mobility and Belonging. in this. Autochthony. Notes 1. Comaroff. Jackson. _. Globalization and Identity?Dialectics Studies of nouveaux cosmopolitanisme. AbdouMaliq." (2001) speak of the "naturalizing capacity" of the 2. 2002. Aliens. Review 44 (2): 15-43. Jean and John Comaroff notion. Studies Apoca 27 (3): Peter. Jean. and the Comaroff. interesting "from the N? are built de la terre [1996] ). Nicole already implies movement. 4. Struggle and "Autochthony: in Africa and Local Europe. et de la terre?Mythe ? Ath?nes. itself (see the title a classical of Loraux's Greek fascinating notion." or Global? Annual New Review ofAnthropology 34: 385-407. Loraux (1996) inconsistencies of autochthony hidden in this (see also Jack so the Loraux's of the democracy. 10: "Les 1-10. fine-grained analysis to view is of direct relevance versions present-day son. Mbembe. Modes Bambi. an this basic contradiction between highlights apparent and a practice of in her seminal security insecurity nagging study of the very of cradle classical Athens. Ceuppens & Geschiere 2005) . to be ?rst-comer present-day to the present autochthony of set place 5. city prided one among autochthonous all the Greek Hence its special talent for truly poleis.Autochthony and the Crisis of Citizenship 7 Ceuppens. and Nyamnjoh. over Citizenship 2005." Birgit.