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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:What came first, the nation or the State? Political process in the Comoro Islands
Author:Walker, IainISNI
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Comoros
State collapse
External links:https://doi.org/10.3366/afr.2007.77.4.582
Abstract:The widespread failure of the postcolonial State in Africa is often attributed to a lack of social and cultural unity, and hence of national identity, in the territories in question. In Europe the State has historically been conceptualized as coterminous with the nation, an apparently 'natural' cultural unit that allowed for subsequent political cohesion and the avoidance of ethnic conflict. In Africa the concept (and the reality) of the nation is often absent and this is sometimes considered to be a stumbling block on the path to political stability. However, the suggestion that a State whose population exhibits the requisite cultural homogeneity would construct and maintain a nation and, subsequently, successful and stable statehood is challenged by evidence from the Comoro Islands. Here, despite apparent sociocultural unity, there has been little movement towards the development of a nation; indeed, there is evidence that an explicit denial of sociocultural unity underpins the failure of the State. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]