Francesca Panini, 13 dicembre 2009

If a number of African policy makers claim ethnicity in the context of their political activity and do this for different reasons, should we not wonder what ethnicity they are invoking and why? Should we not understand their interpretation of ethnicity, i.e. the conceptualization that hides behind certain political claims?

This essay is rooted in dissatisfaction: in the frequent impression that, although much of the analytic work on ethnicity occurs within specific case studies, the dependency of the interpretation on these becomes less evident within the development of the final argument. In the worst cases, one can even notice an implicit, maybe unconscious, tendency to overcome the case study and generalize the interpretation.