Popular culture, the dynamics of African cultural and ethnic identity in a context of globalization

TitlePopular culture, the dynamics of African cultural and ethnic identity in a context of globalization
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsW.M.J. van Binsbergen
Pagination1 - 40
Date Published1995///
Place PublishedUtrecht
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAfrica, African culture, ethnicity, identity, Zambia

Particularly as elites mediating between local communities and the outside world, actors in contemporary southern African societies have talked about culture. Paradoxically, the term 'culture' rarely appeared in scholarly discourse on these same societies. Until quite recently social scientists analysing southern African societies have tended to explain away culture in a materialist and political economy discourse. At present, however, there is a rediscovery of the cultural dimension, notably in studies of ethnicity and the strategic identity construction to which ethnicity gives rise. Discarding the illusions of ethnic boundedness, localization and cultural purity which have long dominated the study of cultural dynamics in Africa, the present author suggests a perspective which combines globalization, commoditification, embodiment (the extent to which cultural practices are inscribed onto the human body), and the changing role of the State, and the strategies of social inequality in these four contexts. The case of the Kazanga Cultural Association, a recent ethnic movement focusing on the Nkoya identity in Zambia, brings out the heuristic potential of such an approach. The conclusion assesses the implications for the concept of popular culture


Bibliogr.: kol. 35 - kol. 40. - Met noten, samenvatting - Overdr. uit: Proceedings CERES/CNWS Summer School 1994 : Popular culture, beyond historical legacy and political innocence, Amsterdam, 20-23 September 1994 / ed. by Jos van der Klei

Citation Key1296