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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Reading Signs of Identity and Alterity: History, Semiotics and a Nigerian Case
Author:Battestini, Simon P.X.
Periodical:African Studies Review
Geographic term:Nigeria
Subjects:African identity
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Abstract:This paper describes the changes in self-perception and identity of the Efik of Calabar, Cross River State, Nigeria, from the precolonial period up to the 1980s. To this end, the so-called semiotic square, used in structuralist studies, is adapted to fit into the Efik regional historical context. The continuum of Efik history is divided into four consecutive periods during which the Efik capacity for 'alterity', seen as the desire to become different, has been created and modified. These stages are the precolonial period, the period of colonization and Christianization, the period of independence from 1960, and the post-oil boom period from c. 1970. The author argues that from a situation in which at least a collective identity existed, a long process of transformation has led to a loss of identity and yet no capacity for 'alterity'. Today, the process of indigenization of all institutions, along with the maintenance of certain imported values, entails the consolidation of this situation of nonidentity coupled with non-alterity. Bibliogr., notes, ref.