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Baka and the Magic of the State: Between Autochthony and Citizenship


While Baka “Pygmies” are regarded as among Africa's most indigenous peoples, their autochthony seems lacking in features that would give them standing for special consideration by die state. Somehow, indigenousness does not equal autochthony. Other mobile indigenous peoples such as traders and pastoralists have also been seen as less than autochthonous. These groups lack “roots in the soil,” which makes them less subject to the authority of the state than farmers. Further, as an acephalous society, Baka political culture cannot be appropriately adjusted to interact with the hierarchical structure of the state and related institutions. For this reason the problematic autochthony of Baka is less an issue of rights within the existing structure of the state—of civil rights—than of human rights. Unfortunately, this human rights issue is not really on any policy agenda, not even that of the working group for the U.N. Draft Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

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Stephen Jackson . 2006. “Sons Of Which Soil? The Language and Politics of Autochthony in Eastern D.R Congo.” African Studies Review 49 (2): 95123.

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African Studies Review
  • ISSN: 0002-0206
  • EISSN: 1555-2462
  • URL: /core/journals/african-studies-review
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