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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Cultivating Citizenship through Xenophobia in Gabon, 1960-1995
Author:Gray, Christopher J.
Periodical:Africa Today
Geographic term:Gabon
Law, Human Rights and Violence
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/4187235
Abstract:Since independence the participation of Gabonese urban populations - particularly those of Libreville and Port-Gentil - in mob violence against foreign African communities has provided the central ingredient to the formation of Gabonese ideas of citizenship. This violence served, in effect, as a recurring ritual of civic expression that solidified a sense of Gabonese privilege and identity. Specifically, participation in this conflict both reinforced an evolving Gabonese national identity and a sense of entitlement whereby being Gabonese implied possession of a set of rights and privileges not obtainable by foreigners. Gabon's xenophobic tendencies are illustrated by violent attacks on Congolese in 1962, Beninese in 1978, Cameroonians in 1981, and Lebanese in 1985. The author argues that Gabonese citizenship was largely forged through a series of informal transactions between the State and its citizens that targeted these different foreign populations between 1962 and 1990. The experience of mob violence not only served to crystallize Gabonese citizenship around a sense of economic entitlement, but also established a pattern of citizenship politics that would target the State in the 1990s. Notes, ref.