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Introduction: Ethnicity in Southern African History

1. As I was preparing to write this Introduction, I was fortunate to have made available to me a preliminary version of Crawford Young's magisterial summing up of the literature on 'Class, ethnicity, and nationalism', which has influenced my approach considerably. Young's stimulating and valuable essay was written for the Social Science Research Council, and it will be published in a future issue of Cahier d'études africaines . Two other studies which influenced my writing markedly are Anthony Giddens, A Contemporary Critique of Historical Marxism (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1981), and Donald L. Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1985). The literature on ethnicity is immense and I have decided to eschew any attempt to produce a bibliographical essay. 1 shall attempt to write an interpretative overview. [BACK]

2. This situation is reflected in the fact that many political leaders felt the need to fabricate a 'philosophy' of government in an attempt to compensate for the intellectual banality of the nationalist movements after independence. These 'philosophies' generally had far greater appeal for well-intentioned non-nationals than for those dwelling within the particular countries for which they were composed. [BACK]

3. Most notably, A. L. Epstein, Politics in an Urban African Community (Manchester, 1958), and J.C. Mitchell, The Kalela Dance (Manchester, 1958). [BACK]

4. For example, I. Wallerstein, 'Ethnicity and national integration', Cahiers d'études africaines, 1 (1960), pp.129-39. [BACK]

5. As in R. Palmer and N. Parsons, eds., The Roots of Rural Poverty in South and Central Africa (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1977), passim . [BACK]

6. This point was developed at an early point of study in J.S. Coleman, Nigeria: Background to Nationalism (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1958) and in R. Lemarchand, Political Awakening in the Congo (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1964). Interest in it has been stimulated more recently by the publication of such influential books as M. Hechter, Internal Colonialism (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1975) and T. Nairn, The Break-up of Britain: Crisis and Neo-Nationalism (London, 1977). [BACK]

7. As, for example, in Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict, passim, and A. Giddens, The Nation-State and Violence (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1985), passim, but especially pp.212-221. See also J.F. Stack, Jr., ed., The Primordial Challenge: Ethnicity in the Contemporary World (Westport, CT, 1986). break [BACK]

8. J. Iliffe's A Modern History of Tanganyika (Cambridge, 1979) contains much relevant material regarding the history of ethnicity in Tanganyika. For the Afrikaners of South Africa, one should see D. Moodie, The Rise of Afrikanerdom: Power, Apartheid and the Afrikaner Civil Religion (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1975); H. Adam and H. Giliomee, Ethnic Power Mobilized (New Haven, 1979); and D. O'Meara, Volkskapitalisme: Class, Capital and Ideology in the Development of Afrikaner Nationalism, 1934-1948 (Cambridge, 1983). This point has been made often for European nationalism, in such important studies as Barrington Moore's Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World (Harmondsworth, 1967). [BACK]

9. For an interesting, although not wholly convincing, assessment of the central role of language in the building of nationalism, see B. Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London, 1983). [BACK]

10. It should be noted that intellectuals discussed in the chapters of this volume are all literate intellectuals. The nature of the evidence makes it difficult to ascertain the nature of the thought and work of non-literate intellectuals, yet it should be kept in mind that such non-literate intellectuals have indeed worked to further ethnic ideologies through oral genres. This whole topic is the subject of a forthcoming study by L. Vail and L. White. [BACK]

11. Malawi National Archives, GOA 2/4/12, 'Mohammadanism and Ethiopianism', Circular letter, Lt. Col. French to Gov. Smith, 7 Aug. 1917. [BACK]

12. M. Chanock, Law, Custom and Social Order: The Colonial Experience in Malawi and Zambia (Cambridge, 1985), is an important study that goes far in exploring the role of the perceived need to control women in the development of concepts of law during the colonial period. [BACK]

13. The relevance of the language of kinship ties to the development of ethnic identity is explored, within a basically primordialist interpretation, in Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict, pp.55-92. [BACK]

14. In a recent survey the author conducted among women dwelling in the squatter locations around Lusaka, Zambia, not a single woman interviewed admitted a preference for the urban environment, and all said they looked forward to returning 'home' in the future because of the lower cost of living and greater tranquillity there. [BACK]

15. This point is developed in Horowitz, Ethnic Groups in Conflict, pp.563-580, in a rather interesting and realistic fashion. break [BACK]

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