Divided societies and ethno-regional antagonisms: “A study of the social interaction between Anglophone North Westerners and South Westerners resident in Buea, South West Cameroon”.
AuthorArrey, William Hermann
This thesis comes at a time when there is much talk on democratic deficit and questions concerning whether and how cultural groups should be recognized in politics in ethnically divided societies. The study therefore uses the Anglophone Cameroon North West/South West ethno-regional divide as an entry point to contribute to this issue of global concern. By employing a variety of research techniques and using ethnic and psycho-social conflict theories as tools of analysis, the study arrives at the conclusion that the recurrent antagonism between the two Anglophone provinces should be seen as a logical outcome of divisive policies at the national level as well as an expression of complex politico-economic and historical forces played out at the regional level. But what maintains the antagonistic interaction in their every day life is the old gap that divides them and which is ingrained in their psychology. Therefore, according to this study, Identity politics is used as a survival strategy under difficult life conditions and not as a cause to the recurrent antagonism. As such, the study rejects claims that cultural identities and diversity necessarily lead to social, economic and political conflict. By doing so, it stimulates further discussions and research on the need to assess the prospects for identity politics in world peace. Perhaps, the most striking finding of this study is that once there is a dominating conflict like that between Anglophone North Westerners and South Westerners, other small conflicts in the region are “translated” into this dominant one. Reflecting concern over this, it makes a strong appeal for a shift in conflict resolution perspective from a general to a contextual model. Indeed, this study analyses the North West/South West gulf to provide a holistic understanding of the phenomenon by placing it within the larger social context of liberal democracy, group rights and national development.
PublisherUniversitetet i Tromsø
University of Tromsø
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Copyright 2006 The Author(s)
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