Democratic Decentralization Reforms and Their Unintended Consequences in Postslavery Northern Benin,

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The paper retraces the recent political emancipation of the Gando, a group of people from Northern Benin whose servile status had been an argument for placing them at the margins of their society and excluding them from political participation. Since the recent democratization process that took place in the Republic of Benin in the early 1990s and was furthered by decentralization process in the early 2000s, the Gando have seized the opportunity to access local power for the first time in their group history. Though these global processes may appear as the cause of marginalized groups’ political emancipation, the author argues that decentralization has mostly been a favourable condition. A historical perspective shows that the emancipation process of the Gando takes its roots in the colonial period where opportunities appeared for a physical and economic emancipation. Nonetheless while officially freed, the Gando remained stigmatized and marginalized under the colonial and postcolonial period. The premises of the ideological emancipation of Gando have occurred under the Revolutionary regime of Kérékou under the umbrella of the Laawol Fulfulde movement during the late 1980s, where Gando and Fulbe claimed together for their social, cultural and even political rights. However the marginalisation of Gando was carried on within the associative movement of Laawol Fulfulde. Hence, Gando leaders decided to create their own organisations on the basis of their social status. Doing so they built the foundations of a new social identity that is showing to be a new ethnic group. This ethnicisation process of the Gando has played a crucial role in the political struggles that happened in the 2002-2003 local elections, later on in the 2007 parliamentary elections and the 2008 local elections. By underlining the peaceful process through which the Gando ethnic group emerged politically, the author opposes recent literature focused on the simultaneous emergence of belonging dynamics and violent conflicts in the context of recent globalisation in developing countries. Identity politics does not necessarily equate with violent ethnic conflict and exclusion dynamics, even in the context of a rapid social change that led to a reversal of the traditional structure of power.
TitelAfrican Slaves, African Masters : Politics, Memories, Social Life
RedaktørerAlice Bellagamba, Sandra Greene, Martin Klein
Antal sider20
ForlagAfrica World Press
UdgaveUK edition
ISBN (Trykt)9781569024430
ISBN (Elektronisk)9781569024423
StatusUdgivet - 2017

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