What if people do not move into political movements? – The case of Fulani pastoral nomads in West Africa

Paper presented at the workshop “Activism and Possibilities of Justice: Anthropological Perspectives”, organised by the Anthropology and Social Movements Network of the EASA, University of Perugia (Italy), 26th October 2013 –

This paper inquires into the consequences, for the debate on social movements, of considering the situations of depoliticised or under-represented populations, rather than those of groups already active and engaged in political and social struggles. Actually, the recent attention paid to popular uprisings in the Global South should not neglect, in a Gramscian sense, the need for a reflection on the conditions for mobilisation or non-mobilisation, and on the different stages of politicisation of subaltern groups.

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Looking for Gramsci in Local Resistances – Reflections from the Margins

Paper presented at the panel Capitalism and Global Anthropology: Marxism Resurgent (conveners L. Steur and P. Nieveling), 17th Conference of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Studies, 5th-10th August 2013, Manchester, UK – 

My paper deals with a Gramscian analysis of subaltern people’s resistances in West Africa. Relying on my ethnographic fieldwork in Mauritania, Mali, and Benin, it discusses pastoral communities facing political discrimination and rural economic economy; and of people, both in rural and urban contexts, coping directly with global capitalism. In this second case, they are pastoral communities, again, facing the grabbing of their lands, and slum dwellers of slave descent confronting slum-clearance programs.

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