Cultural interfaces of self-determination and the rise of the neo-Biafran movement in Nigeria

SOURCE: Review of African Political Economy
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
PUBLICATION YEAR: 2013
TITLE AUTHOR(S): G.Onuoha
KEYWORDS: CULTURAL DIVERSITY, ETHNIC GROUPS, IDENTITY, NEO-BIAFRAN MOVEMENT, NIGERIA, POLITICS
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 7860

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Abstract

This article examines the 'cultural repertoires' of neo-Biafran separatist Igbo groups in south-eastern Nigeria, pointing to the ways in which cultural repertoires, narratives and emblems are deployed to forge a separatist ethno-political project in a multi-ethnic state. The neo-Biafran movement reveals the robustness of political resistance and the existence of multiple frameworks through which ethno-nationalist groups resist and challenge extant power structures of the state in the quest for self-determination. The article argues that ethnic groups have the capacity to initiate their own 'cultural repertories' in order to construct group identity forms of external identity the other boundaries of their own collective group identity. Myths of origin, narratives of the past, images and symbols are rooted in certain cultural repertoires, and are elaborated, interpreted, invented and reinvented to produce political identities that are complex and fluid in the struggle for political power.