International Journal of Sociology and Anthropology Research (IJSAR)

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Intersecting and Contiguous Identities in African Narratives: Ontological and Anthropological Perspectives


The tribal and ethnic identities in Africa have been associated with many social tensions, political intolerance and violence. Through the lenses of fatalistic pessimism, many African writers have generally portrayed such identities as the unfortunate societal references that drive social and political allegiance. However, there are some writers who no longer see the tribal and ethnic affiliation as a determining factor for (un)democratic practices and (in)cohesive social interactions. They rather depict such differences as the form of a constructive alterity where the otherness contributes to the acceptance, tolerance, development of attitudes and behaviours that harness peaceful multifaceted and intersecting identities. Through the works of Eugène Nzamboung and Dominique M’Fouillou, respectively L’amour à l’ombre des guerres tribales (2018) [Love in the mist of tribal wars] and Ondongo (2000), one can identify culturally autarkic universes in the shadow of many Africa countries where intersectional identities are underpinned by both anthropological and ontological factors. Traditional identity clashes dissipate in favour of togetherness and hopes that facilitate the construction of societies which share historical symbolic values and destiny.By using a discourse analysis, this paper examines the representation of key concepts, such as identities, existence, being, becoming and representation of historical and social reality. With references to cultural anthropology and ontological perspectives, the study concludes that many dynamics in the interpersonal and community relations can create a fruitful intersectionality of identities and ultimately triumph over a contiguous conception of social differences.

Keywords: African narratives, Discourse Analysis, Identity, Ontology, cultural anthropology, intersectionality

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