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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Indigeneity and Kenya's Nubians: seeking equality in difference or sameness?
Author:Balaton-Chrimes, Samantha
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies (ISSN 0022-278X)
Geographic term:Kenya
ethnic identity
social inequality
indigenous peoples
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/43303988
Abstract:Recent studies of indigeneity in Africa have highlighted the problematic nature of the concept in a continent where it is difficult to determine which groups have temporal priority in a given location. These studies have suggested, with varying degrees of criticism, that indigeneity in Africa is a strategic identity deployed to attain a special status and associated benefits, often to remedy past harms. This article agrees that indigeneity is an act of positioning, but suggests that in the Kenyan context it can be deployed in another way as well, that is, as an act that seeks equal rather than special positioning within the dominant population. In this case indigeneity is not a special 'slot' but rather the norm. The article illustrates this by drawing on research with the Nubian community of Nairobi who seek to shed their ethnic stranger status and instead position themselves as indigenous to Nairobi in order to access the same quality of citizenship as that enjoyed by Kenya's '42 tribes'. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]