Book

The Perils of Belonging

Peter Geschiere

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780226289649
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226289663 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226289663.001.0001
The Perils of Belonging

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Despite being told that we now live in a cosmopolitan world, more and more people have begun to assert their identities in ways that are deeply rooted in the local. These claims of autochthony—meaning “born from the soil”—seek to establish an irrefutable, primordial right to belong and are often employed in politically charged attempts to exclude outsiders. This book traces the concept of autochthony back to the classical period and incisively explores the idea in two very different contexts: Cameroon and the Netherlands. In both countries, the momentous economic and political changes following the end of the Cold War fostered anxiety over migration. For Cameroonians, the question of who belongs where rises to the fore in political struggles between different tribes, while the Dutch invoke autochthony in fierce debates over the integration of immigrants. This fascinating comparative perspective allows the book to examine the emotional appeal of autochthony—as well as its dubious historical basis—and to shed light on a range of important issues, such as multiculturalism, national citizenship, and migration.

Keywords: autochthony; citizenship; exclusion; Cameroon; Netherlands; immigrants; multiculturalism; migration; Cold War; belonging

Book.  296 pages. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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Table of Contents

Introduction in The Perils of Belonging

Chapter

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African Trajectories in The Perils of Belonging

Chapter

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