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Le linge sale se lave en famille : la gestion pragmatique des sources de violence 'xénophobe' dans le jeu politique au Bénin

The pragmatic management of sources of xenophobic violence in Benin
[journal article]

Bako-Arifari, Nassirou

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Abstract There is a constant at the heart of xenophobic violence: The fundamental otherness and its linguistic expression, which allows to construct the other as a 'stranger'. The politicisation of group prejudices (linguistic xenophobia) constitutes an essential factor in this process. 'Xenophobic' violence in Benin between inhabitants from different regions has remained sporadic despite the structural character of its sources. Since 1960, different strategies have been developed and translated into national policies or pragmatic rules within the political game to curb the exploitation of primary affiliations. The political development of Benin shows that acknowledging triple identities - ethnical, regional and national - their pragmatic integration in the mode of governance at the top of the state as well as their use as political resources in the process of state construction itself constitute an efficient channel for managing constant sources of conflict and violence in multiethnic states.
Keywords Benin; Africa; ethnic relations; violence; regionalism; conflict management; ethnicity; political culture; national unity; prejudice; multicultural society; ethnocentrism
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; Social Problems
Free Keywords Ethnic Relations; Violence; Xenophobia; Social Closure
Publication Year 2005
Page/Pages p. 267-297
Journal Afrika Spectrum, 40 (2005) 2
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works