Dynamics of Identity Construction among the Ethnic Communities in Darfur: A Conflict-based Perspective
This paper investigates dynamics adopted by nine ethnolinguistic communities affected by the current conflict in South Darfur State to construct their ethnic identities. Qualitative data were obtained via focus group discussions, interviews, posters from the landscape, and observation over a period spanning from 2012 to 2013. The findings show that, firstly, there were unprecedented micro-interethnic identity construction dynamics across the study area. Secondly, within these interethnic identities, there were also emerging intra-ethnic identities – all spurred by the wholesale community ethnicisation processes. Thirdly, revitalization of ethnolinguistic identity was found to be the major tool employed by the communities under study, with varying degrees, to establish their distinct identities. Fourthly, ethnolinguistic identities constructed varied from one group to another, ranging from ‘strong’ to ‘moderate’ and ‘weak’, depending on the community’s ethnolinguistic vitality. The paper concluded that the major factor in the emergence of these micro inter- or intra-ethnic identities was the current conflict in Darfur.
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