Ethnicities, representations and identity discourses in new migratory contexts. The case of the Mbororo Fulani in Cameroon and Europe
Cristina Enguita Fernàndez
Paper short abstract:
This paper examines ethnic identity reconfigurations in new migration contexts. From a multisited ethnography, we will approach the case of the Mbororo Fulani, comparing their identity discourses in Cameroon and Europe.
Paper long abstract:
In Cameroon, Mbororo herders are identified, along with other groups, as an indigenous people. Since the Mbororo are part of the great Fulani ethnic group, living throughout the Sudano-Sahelian zone, it is interesting to observe the dynamics that have shaped them as a distinctive ethnic group, exclusively present in Cameroon, Central African Republic and Chad. As a result of an stigmatizing category, and in a context of migration from the countryside to the city, the ethnonym Mbororo has become a referent of an empowered community. From a global perspective, it can be understood as dynamic of fission since in other countries, Fulani people are presented in a unitary way. Having said that, in the framework of an ongoing research this paper aims to expose the reconfiguration of cultural and ethnic borders as strategies of identity reaffirmation related to migratory processes. The incipient transnational migration in Europe of an Mbororo elites calls into question the effectiveness of certain categories outside the country of origin. So, through the analysis of the social networks between different diasporic points in Europe, we can reflect on how identity bonds are constructed, which links are maintained with the Mbororo community in Cameroon, as well as the relationship with the Fulani transnational community, either through social media or in the countries of arrival. The present proposal, therefore, is the result of a multisited ethnographic research conducted between Cameroon and Europe, providing a perspective that invites to emphasise how the processes of ethnicity construction are relational and contextual.
Staying, moving and settling in Africa and its diaspora [EASA Africanists' Network]