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The Nubians of Kenya: citizenship in the gaps and margins

Balaton-Chrimes, Samantha 2016, The Nubians of Kenya: citizenship in the gaps and marginsCitizenship, belonging, and political community in Africa: dialogues between past and present, Ohio University Press, Athens, Oh., pp.149-178.

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Title The Nubians of Kenya: citizenship in the gaps and margins
Author(s) Balaton-Chrimes, Samantha
Title of book Citizenship, belonging, and political community in Africa: dialogues between past and present
Publication date 2016
Series Cambridge center of African studies
Chapter number 7
Start page 149
End page 178
Total pages 30
Publisher Ohio University Press
Place of Publication Athens, Oh.
Keyword(s) citizenship
Summary This chapter explores the history of Nubian citizenship struggles in Kenya. Today's Kenyan Nubians are a marginalized minority, discriminated against in access to national identity cards, unrecognized (at least until 2009, and then only ambiguously) as a tribe of Kenya, and landless. Their story is one of displacement and uneasy settlement, of shifting and divided loyalties, and of sometimes-conflicting strategies aimed at constructing themselves as citizens. Perhaps the only consistency in the Nubians' story is their status as in-between or outside the categories that dictate, in formal and informal terms, belonging in the communities in which they found themselves. The various and often paradoxical ways in which the Nubians have successfully or unsuccessfully negotiated their status—as askaris, detribalized natives, and ultimately ethnic strangers—are emblematic of ways in which political membership has historically been negotiated in dialogue with, rather than purely determined by, colonial (and postcolonial) legal and political status. This case draws attention to the ways in which categories through which colonial authorities sought to govern the colonized were unable to absolutely capture the lived realities of identity, difference, mobility, settlement, rights claiming, and belonging. The chapter argues that Nubians actively contributed, albeit within significant constraints, to the construction of citizenship as a (limited) form of political membership and a license to make meaningful use of (some) rights and resources.
ISBN 9780821422564
Language eng
Field of Research 160602 Citizenship
Socio Economic Objective 940201 Civics and Citizenship
HERDC Research category B1 Book chapter
ERA Research output type B Book chapter
Copyright notice ©2016, Ohio University Press
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Document type: Book Chapter
Collection: School of Humanities and Social Sciences
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