This paper aims to analyze citizenship and state building in Guéra. A modern state machine has been brought here by the French colonization, at the beginning of the 20th century. In pre-colonial time, Guéra was a slave-reservoir for Wadai sultanate, without a recognized central power. The French defeated Wadai and imposed a political order in Guéra. Captives were liberated and obtained a canton when French administratively arranged the region. Local people emphasize the huge difference between the “Wadai period”, when nobody could not even walk in the plains without being captured; and the French period, when people was free to settle without danger and razziah finished. When Chad got independence, everybody was recognized as a citizen of the new republic. However, there is a general dissatisfaction when talking about freedom and citizenship. Despite the formal equality of all citizens, local elites’ control over individuals remains hard. The argument of this paper is that this situation is not related to a failure of the local citizenship project, but is the final achievement of it. French intervention had the goal to stop Wadai slave trade, brining security to Guéra; and to preserve the social ties which could guarantee peace and cohesion in the area. Therefore, once stopped razziah and slave trade, local institutions were forged on a very hierarchical model, appointing as authorities the heads of the families more effective on guaranteeing order. Post-colonial state maintained this approach and the recent decentralization reforms seem to further strength local elites’ power. In Guéra, the more common strategy for self-empowerment has traditionally been the affiliation to a powerful family, in order to get access to resources (especially land and women), as well as opportunities to be integrated in the state system. These processes enabled the slow integration of slave-descendants (locally called Yalnas) as a group, but did not break the harsh hierarchical relationships inside the society. The belonging to a recognized lineage is still a condition to be accepted as a full citizen and have access to crucial rights, leaving to the head of lineages a relevant power over “their citizens”.

Colosio, V. (2015). "Citizens of a chief". State building, emancipation and elites control in the Guéra region. Intervento presentato a: Freedom. Bondage, future and selves in Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa, Milano.

"Citizens of a chief". State building, emancipation and elites control in the Guéra region

COLOSIO, VALERIO
2015

Abstract

This paper aims to analyze citizenship and state building in Guéra. A modern state machine has been brought here by the French colonization, at the beginning of the 20th century. In pre-colonial time, Guéra was a slave-reservoir for Wadai sultanate, without a recognized central power. The French defeated Wadai and imposed a political order in Guéra. Captives were liberated and obtained a canton when French administratively arranged the region. Local people emphasize the huge difference between the “Wadai period”, when nobody could not even walk in the plains without being captured; and the French period, when people was free to settle without danger and razziah finished. When Chad got independence, everybody was recognized as a citizen of the new republic. However, there is a general dissatisfaction when talking about freedom and citizenship. Despite the formal equality of all citizens, local elites’ control over individuals remains hard. The argument of this paper is that this situation is not related to a failure of the local citizenship project, but is the final achievement of it. French intervention had the goal to stop Wadai slave trade, brining security to Guéra; and to preserve the social ties which could guarantee peace and cohesion in the area. Therefore, once stopped razziah and slave trade, local institutions were forged on a very hierarchical model, appointing as authorities the heads of the families more effective on guaranteeing order. Post-colonial state maintained this approach and the recent decentralization reforms seem to further strength local elites’ power. In Guéra, the more common strategy for self-empowerment has traditionally been the affiliation to a powerful family, in order to get access to resources (especially land and women), as well as opportunities to be integrated in the state system. These processes enabled the slow integration of slave-descendants (locally called Yalnas) as a group, but did not break the harsh hierarchical relationships inside the society. The belonging to a recognized lineage is still a condition to be accepted as a full citizen and have access to crucial rights, leaving to the head of lineages a relevant power over “their citizens”.
No
slide + paper
Freedom; Slavery; Citizenship; Chad; Decentralization
English
Freedom. Bondage, future and selves in Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa
Colosio, V. (2015). "Citizens of a chief". State building, emancipation and elites control in the Guéra region. Intervento presentato a: Freedom. Bondage, future and selves in Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa, Milano.
Colosio, V
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10281/91589
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