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Periodical article Periodical article
Title:Politics of the Soil: Separatism, authochtony, and decolonization at the Kenyan coast
Author:Prestholdt, J.
Year:2014
Periodical:Journal of African History
Volume:55
Issue:2
Pages:249-270
Geographic term:Kenya
Discipline:Political Science & Government
Subject:Separatism
Abstract:This article examines the perceived interdependence of territorial rights and social identity in colonial Kenya. In the early 1960s, attempts to win full autonomy for a narrow strip of Indian Ocean coastline the Protectorate of Kenya encouraged an exclusivist discourse of autochthony. To establish their historical ownership of the coast, both political thinkers who supported and decried coastal separatism emphasized the correlation of race, ethnicity, religion, and physical space. Through competing claims to 'the soil', all parties articulated a dually integrative and divisive language of citizenship. As a result, autochthony discourse exacerbated tensions within coastal society, fortified divergent visions of the postcolonial nation, and highlighted reductive definitions of the coast as either maritime or continental in orientation. [Journal abstract]