Ethnogovernmentality: The making of ethnic territories and subjects in eastern DR Congo

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In this article I investigate colonial constructions of ethnicity and territory and their effects in the post-independence period in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. The core argument of the article is that the constructions of ethnicity and territory that are set in motion in struggles over political space in the Congolese conflicts are conditioned by what I call “ethnogovernmentality”, which denotes a heterogeneous ensemble of biopolitical and territorial rationalities and practices of power concerned with the conduct of conduct of ethnic populations. Through ethnogovernmentality colonial authorities sought to impose ordered scientific visions of ethnicity, custom, culture, space, territory, and geography, upon ambivalent cultures and spaces. I show that while ethnogovernmentality failed to produce the stability and order the colonial authorities sought, its ethno-territorial regime of truth and practice has had durable effects on people’s sense of self and on struggles over political space.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGeoforum
ISSN0016-7185
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Nov 2019

ID: 229901499