Identities of Impoverishment: Ethnicity, Tribalism and Violence in Kenya

Scott MacWilliam

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    While it is recognised that ascribing an ethnic identity to oneself and others is compatible with also being a citizen of a national state, including Kenya, less attention is now paid to how identities are formed. Kenya is one nation state among many in a world over which the accumulation of capital reigns: it is in short, a capitalist nation state. It is argued here that the process of accumulation again should be placed at the centre of understanding how humans, in this case Kenyans, are the bearers of particular identities. Ethnicity and its territorial expression tribalism are identities produced by and given particular salience as accumulation waxes and wanes. The corollary of accumulation, especially prominent globally over the last three decades and not least in Kenya, is the impoverishment of many people. To explain the often violent behaviour which has been widespread in the country in recent decades without reference to this phase which is determinant in contemporary Kenya is a further form of impoverishment, this one intellectual.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)104-131
    JournalAustralasian Review of African Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    Dive into the research topics of 'Identities of Impoverishment: Ethnicity, Tribalism and Violence in Kenya'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this