Building a Nation in Rwanda? De-ethnicisation and its Discontents

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Rwanda remains in the eastern camp of ethnic ideas and projects of a ‘nation’ inasmuch as it is dominated by cultural as opposed to civic/political elements. Although the Rwandan attempt remains exclusive internally, it does not affirm the validity of an idealised Kohnian dichotomy between ‘exclusive’ ethnic nationalism and ‘inclusive’ civic nationalism. To avoid the trap of a bi-polar and value-ladden division, while preserving the useful insights of Kohn, the paper calls for a re-conceptualisation of nation-building projects along the continuum of their relative inclusiveness/exclusiveness, both internally (who shapes the ‘idea of nation’) and externally (the boundaries of nation).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)502-523
JournalStudies in Ethnicity and Nationalism
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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