Epilogue: Can the Land Lie?

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:
Epilogue: Can the Land Lie?

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This chapter evaluates the very different forms rituals of belonging in Africa and in Europe take. A rapid comparison with parallel and different situations in Africa and Europe can help explore under what conditions autochthony can produce the “techniques of the body” and forms of “autodisciplining” through which an appeal to the soil produces an “authentic form of belonging” that can override other interests and preoccupations. Rituals of autochthony could be seen to coincide with rituals of nation-building. The “global conjuncture of belonging” brought a return of highly localized preoccupations, as the flip side of intensifying processes of globalization. Both autochthony's naturalizing tendencies and its inner inconsistencies are crucial, since this paradoxical combination can explain why it can lead to so much confusion and uncertainty in practice. Furthermore, it is emphasized that migration is as old as human society and that autochthony's “Otherless universe” is therefore impossible.

Keywords: autochthony; rituals; belonging; Africa; Europe; nation-building; globalization; migration

Chapter.  5193 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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