Accepted Paper:

has pdf download Socio-cultural and political change in a transnational group: the Konkombas (Ghana/Togo)  

Author:

Giulia Casentini (University of Pavia)

Paper short abstract:

I would like to analyse the socio-political transition of the Konkomba people, settled in the northern part of the Ghana/Togo border, focusing on the building of their ethnic identity in order to have access to land ownership and political representation.

Paper long abstract:

I would like to analyse the socio-political transition of a transnational group, the Konkomba people, focusing on the building of their ethnic identity in order to have access to land ownership and citizenship rights.

The Konkombas are settled along the northern part of the Ghana/Togo border and they represent a good example of what a so-called "acephalous" group in transition could be, owing to their struggle to emancipate themselves by obtaining their neighbours' chieftaincy institution.

In this landscape the construction of identities becomes a political tool in order to establish who should be included or excluded from citizenship rights.

The issues around ethnicity, belonging and autochthony assume a specific character in this border zone: in Ghana the Konkombas are said to be "non-indigenous" coming from Togo, as well as in Togo several authors affirm that they are believed to come "originally" from Ghana.

Which are today the mutual relations and perceptions between members of a group that has been divided as part of two different nation-states during the colonial era?

Which are the answers to the needs of a minority group in transition held by Ghana and Togo since their different colonial heritage (British in Ghana, French in Togo) and their current political systems?

With my research I would like to highlight the contemporary interactions between transnational Konkombas and, consequently, trying to find out what is the role of the border in building ethnic identities furthermore in defining and re-defining the access to citizenship rights.

Panel W004
Mobility, transnational connections and sociocultural change in contemporary Africa