Ethnicity in Ghana The Limits of Invention by Na Na


Ethnicity in Ghana The Limits of Invention by Na Na

Although African ethnicity has become a highly fertile field of enquiry in recent years, most of the research is concentrated on southern and central Africa, and has passed Ghana by. This volume extends many of the distilled insights, but also modifies them in the light of the Ghanaian evidence. The collection is multidisciplinary in scope and spans the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial contexts. A central contention of the volume is that, while there were significant regional variations, ethnicity was not purely a colonial 'invention'. The boundaries of 'we-groups' have constantly mutated from pre-colonial times, while European categorization owed much to indigenous ways of seeing. The contributors explore the role of European administrators and recruitment officers as well as African cultural brokers in shaping new identities. The interaction of gender and ethnic consciousness is explicitly addressed. The volume also examines the formulation of the national question in Ghana today - in debates over language policy and conflicts over land and chieftaincy.


In sum, the case studies in this collection, by exploring the limits as well as the varieties of political and cultural creativity in Ghana, illuminate the ways in which ethnic expression relates to older idioms of collective identity. Students of ethnic assertiveness elsewhere in Africa would indeed profit from reading these explorations. International Journal of African Historical Studies

About the Author

Carola Lentz is Professor of Social Anthropology at the University of Frankfurt, Germany. Paul Nugent is Senior Lecturer in African history at the University of Edinburgh.

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Book Info


247 pages


Na Na
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Publication date

14th January 2014



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