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Afrika Focus  2011 

European and Cameroonian scholarship on ethnicity and the making of identities in Cameroon: colonial and post-colonial trails

Keywords: colonialism , ethnicity , identity , perceptions , scholarship

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Abstract:

Relations between colonial and post-colonial studies in and on Cameroon have been both continuous and discontinuous. As reflected in the domains of historiography and social anthropology, this has impacted on ethnic self-representations and popular labeling. This paper examines contrasting drives that have led to a replication of colonial redefinitions of ethnicity and how this informs current discussions on ethnicity in Cameroon. The argument is that certain research works have informed or substantially influenced the identity question when one aknowledges that the colonial period is a bench mark epoch in the establishment of certain categories of ethnic perception. Although substantially deconstructed at the scientific level, these categories have survived and continue to influence social categories of perception that become common sense intrusions (what Bourdieu called doxa) into social science.

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