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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The State and the rebel: online nationalisms in Niger
Author:Alzouma, GadoISNI
Periodical:Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Geographic term:Niger
ethnic identity
information technology
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02589000903399462
Abstract:The advent of new information and communication technologies (ICTs) has made it possible to express previously repressed nationalist sentiments, forbidden languages, ethnic loyalties, and new identities free from the control exerted between the boundaries of the State. Since the advent of democracy in Francophone Africa, the State has lost its monopoly over the media and now cannot control actors (particularly diasporic communities scattered around the world) who are disputing its hegemony and legitimacy. In Niger since the beginning of 2007, two rebel movements led by Tuareg insurgents have been fighting the government on both the military and the virtual fronts, the Mouvement des Nigériens pour la Justice (MNJ) and the Front des Forces de Redressement (FFR). They have invaded existing virtual networks such as discussion forums and online media websites and created their own websites and chat rooms. In the name of national unity and peaceful development, they are being countered by the State as well as other citizens of the diaspora. This article analyses how Tuareg identity has been framed over time by colonial anthropologists and administrators in Niger and how this identity is now being expressed online by current Nigerien Tuareg rebels in the context of conflicting nationalisms involving the State and its opponents. The author argues that, contrary to the deterministic role attributed to ICTs, it is the 'external' social and political conditions that determine the online contours of nationalistic expressions and conflicts. The article approaches such conflicting nationalisms as 'symbolic struggles over the power to produce and to impose a legitimate vision of the world' (Bourdieu, 1989). Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]