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Playing the Marginality Game: Identity Politics in West Africa

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Volume 19

Integration and Conflict Studies

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Playing the Marginality Game

Identity Politics in West Africa

Anita Schroven

256 pages, 23 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-189-5 $120.00/£85.00 Hb Not Yet Published (March 2019)

eISBN 978-1-78920-190-1 eBook Not Yet Published

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“Clearly, (this book) is the result of a long ethnographic work and reflection on the evidence collected, and for sure it will enrich our knowledge of Guinea Conakry, one of the African countries which are today on the development priority list of the European Union”. • Alice Bellagamba, University of Milan-Bicocca


In Guinea, situated in the background of central government struggles, rural elites use identity politics, through history and contemporary political reforms to maintain their privileges and perpetuate a generation-old local social contract that bridges ethnic and religious divides. Simultaneously, administrative reform and national unrest lead to the creative re-combination of sources of authority and practices of legitimate rule. Past periods of decolonization, socialism and authoritarian regime are reflected in contemporary struggles to make sense of participatory democracy and the future of the embattled Guinean national state.

Anita Schroven is Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. She has worked on state and identity in West Africa, along with practices of humanitarian intervention, science and knowledge production in the context of political and medical crises. She has held fellowships with Pasteur Institute, France and UNICAMP, Brazil.

Subject: General Anthropology Sociology Development Studies
Area: Africa


List of Maps and Figures
Notes on Names and Spelling
List of Acronyms

Introduction: Identity at the Margins: A Place in Guinea

Chapter 1. A Journey to the Margins?
Chapter 2. Maintaining Marginality: Ethnic and National Elements of Identification
Chapter 3. Reaching for the Margins: Negotiating State Power
Chapter 4. Mixing and Mingling: New Politics, Old Structures?
Chapter 5. Bargaining with an Ailing State
Chapter 6. Citizenship at the Margins: Performing the Future State

Conclusion: Liberties at the Margins: Playing the Game


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