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The Perils of Belonging: Autochthony, Citizenship, and Exclusion in Africa and Europe Paperback – May 1, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0226289656 ISBN-10: 0226289656 Edition: 1st
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Editorial Reviews


"This is an ambitious, astute, and timely effort to address one of the most interesting and potentially troubling trends in our contemporary world, namely, the rise of politically charged passions about belonging. Geschiere's judicious and incisive analysis offers a model of how an academic investigation can shed light on a major global problem." - Daniel Jordan Smith, Brown University"

About the Author

Peter Geschiere is professor of African anthropology at the University of Amsterdam and the author of The Modernity of Witchcraft: Politics and the Occult in Postcolonial Africa.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226289656
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226289656
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #809,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Etienne ROLLAND-PIEGUE on February 12, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A few years ago, the Netherlands had a public debate on national identity. Dutch people have always been cool and laid-back about their own country. Except during soccer tournaments, they don't show the flag around, and when they are abroad they are as comfortable in English as in their national language. People are at a loss to give examples of Dutchness, except perhaps a general attitude of openness and tolerance. Ian Buruma, a literary critic, attributes this attitude of squeamishness about national identity to a country "well known for its Calvinistic restraint and its bourgeois dedain for excess". For many Dutch people there is not only uncertainty about what Dutch culture is about but also reluctance to accept the very idea of such a national culture. Until well into the 1990s, the Netherlands saw itself, and was seen by others, as a beacon in the world for realizing a tolerant society with integrated multiple cultures. Differences were not frowned upon. Immigrants were allowed, even encouraged, to retain their own cultural identity.

A series of events challenged those self-perceptions. First, there was the unexpected rise of populist politician Pim Fortuyn, who made a rocket start in national politics by taking a controversial stance against foreigners, before being murdered by a radical ecologist in 2002.Then there was the even bloodier murder of filmmaker Theo van Gogh by an Islamic fanatic in 2004, after he made a film attacking Islam with Somalia-born Ayaan Hinsi Ali. Another dramatic event that got less international media coverage was the death of eleven "illegal" immigrants who, in 2005, burned alive while in a provisional detention center.

To many people in the Netherlands, these three events marked an abrupt switch.
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