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Making Ethnic Ways: Communities and Their Transformations in Taita, Kenya, 1800-1950 (Social History of Africa)
Rather than seeing ethnicity as an exogenous construction or as a product of persistent rivalries between groups, Bill Bravman focuses on the internal dimensions of ethnic identity, seeing the emergence of ethnicity as a reflection of debates within an African society. Proselytizing Christian missionaries, male labor migration, and British colonial...
Rather than seeing ethnicity as an exogenous construction or as a product of persistent rivalries between groups, Bill Bravman focuses on the internal dimensions of ethnic identity, seeing the emergence of ethnicity as a reflection of debates within an African society. Proselytizing Christian missionaries, male labor migration, and British colonial impositions in the Taita area of Kenya presented challenges to the status quo as young men, Christian converts, and a number of women tried to evade the rule of elders and their control over resources. Elders and these progressive factions engaged one another in a struggle of cultural politics over definitions of proper "Taita" identity and behavior. Ethnicity became the means through which prior struggles were reframed and continued.Based on extensive archival research and substantial fieldwork in Kenya, Braveman's book is an important addition to scholarship on East African history. His book also challenges prevailing assumptions about ethnicity and ethnic identity in Africa and elsewhere.
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