Tribal Pluralism: A Study of Ethnicity in the Ivory Coast
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The reason behind this Senior Individualized Project lies in my shared interest in the process of nation-building in Africa. More particularly, I have been motivated by the lack of thoughtful analytic writings on the problems posed for African states because of their ethnically-fragmented nature. Journalistic accounts of ethnic conflict in Africa appear all too frequently, but careful assessment of ethnic interaction and governmental responses to these problems are rare. Foreign observers often inaccurately describe ethnic conflict in Africa as being primitive and tribalistic and as posing insurmountable obstacles to legitimate nationhood. In doing so, they neglect the common fact of politicized pluralism evident in all parts of the world. Statements by many African leaders, on the other hand, tend to belittle the seriousness of the problems posed by the multiethnic make-up of their countries. When such conflict reaches levels that necessitate a response, they often resort to exhortations against the evils of "tribalism". The question considered here is whether more effective policies and practices can be devised for reducing tensions and transforming conflict into cooperation.