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date: 05 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

From the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, the region that became Kenya changed from a marketplace for loose-knit ecological and immigrant ethnicities into a power structure in which the same ethnic groups compete as political tribes. This chapter analyzes this fundamental change in the nature of ethnic community and its associated moral economy in five phases: the stateless past; the building of a racial state; the colonial agrarian-educational revolution that benefitted agriculturalists at the expense of pastoralists; the rise of co-operative patriotic ethnicities among the former; and, finally, the birth of the conflict between ethnic self-mastery and the hierarchical power of nationalism, epitomized in the Mau Mau uprising with which independent Kenya has been wrestling ever since.

Keywords: ethnicity, tribe, race, immigrant, moral economy

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