Representation in Mauritian politics: who speaks for African pasts?
Author: Prabhu, Anjali
Source: International Journal of Francophone Studies, Volume 8, Number 2, 1 August 2005 , pp. 183-197(15)
Abstract:The island nation of Mauritius is recognized across most disciplines - from anthropology to tourism - as a plural or multi-ethnic country. This essay will show that any attempt to represent the pluralism of Mauritius must contend with the complex history of representation itself within this postcolonial nation. This complexity, in its turn, is bound up with the intersecting histories of the varied immigrant and diasporic populations that make up this myriad society. The legacy of these tensions in the contemporary era can be symbolized in the public persona of the Mauritian Prime Minister, Paul Brenger, as he sought to represent various groups of the Mauritian electorate in his bid to be re-elected in September 2005. The various and, at times, contradictory ways in which Africanness and Indianness have made their way into the public sphere will be read through an analysis of debates in the Legislative Assembly, articles in the contemporary press, and historical sources that draw on these key issues. If, at bottom, diaspora draws both on making ethnic connections that go beyond the political boundaries of the nation state, and on the more immediate engendering of ethnocultural solidarity within the nation state itself, then these issues are fraught with complex and particular complications for Mauritians of African and/or Malagasy descent.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Wellesley College.
Publication date: 1 August 2005
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