Balanta farmers of Guinea-Bissau are often regarded by neighboring communities as “backward” and as a people who have refused modern life-worlds. Despite the fact that these farmers played a very important role in the making of Guinea-Bissau, they were progressively removed from power after independence. However, they also developed original forms of contesting marginality. This article portrays the Balanta as complex historical subjects with strategic agendas. It examines the tensions between centrality and marginality in today's Guinea-Bissau and in the Balanta's own ways of imagining their place in the nation.
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