Ethno-Nationalism Côte d'Ivoire

This project intends to contribute to the study of ethno-nationalism and political integration in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast) before and after independence (1960). Two important features of the country’s development are the cocoa and coffee exploitation and the presence of large communities of foreigners from neighbouring countries. In Côte d’Ivoire, interest in nationalist politics was found primarily among planters, traders and in ethnic organisations. Because of the plantation economy, their early contact with Western culture and their access to education, the southerners gained wealth and influence in commerce, liberal professions and colonial civil service. The early predominance of Europeans in the plantation economy and the resulting resentment among the educated elite from the South led to the first manifestation of Ivorian nationalism. The autochthony-foreigner division has also influenced ethno-nationalism and neo-nationalism characterized by the recent emergence of the philosophy of ivoirité.
The project will explore the role of the local elite and the ethnic factor in the development of Ivorian nationalism. It will outline the background of nationalism – i. e. proto-nationalist movements –, before examining the period of mass nationalism dominated by the activities of Rassemblement Démocratique Africain and concentrating on the post-independence era. The ideas and ideologies of nationalism based on ethnicity and autochthony will be examined contextually and regionally. This means looking into biographies, rhetoric and programs of a variety of prominent nationalist leaders.  

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