Cameroon: Nation-Building and Autochthony as Processes of Subjectivation

in The Perils of Belonging

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780226289649
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226289663 | DOI:
Cameroon: Nation-Building and Autochthony as Processes of Subjectivation

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This chapter concentrates on the striking emotional appeal of rituals of autochthony in present-day Africa. It also provides a comparison between the rituals of the forceful nation-building of the 1960s and 1970s and the funeral “at home” that has become a high moment for celebrating belonging in the present-day context. Ahmadou Ahidjo's nation-building project aimed to groom its subjects into particularly well-disciplined citizens. The funeral is important for examining autochthony and local forms of belonging as a new turn of subjectivation. It is the most important ritual in Maka village life. The funeral constitutes an ideal moment for villagers to get even with their “brothers” from the city. The village might constitute a dispositif that works to discipline at least as rigorously as the state's apparatus. The strong emphasis on social engineering gave the rituals of nation-building an artificial, “made-up” profile that hardly brought about a shared sensation of authenticity.

Keywords: rituals; autochthony; Africa; nation-building; funeral; belonging; subjectivation; Maka village

Chapter.  18556 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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