The Cohesion of Oppression: Clientship and Ethnicity in Rwanda, 1860-1960

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Columbia University Press, 1988 - History - 322 pages
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Revolutions are often seen in terms of a spontaneous burst of intense political activity; less attention usually is given to the structures, processes, and perceptions that make such activity possible. This innovative book examines such long-term transformations as they relate to the revolution in the Central African nation of Rwanda, which culminated in its independence in July 1962.

While much of the previous work on Rwanda has focused on the royal court and central state institutions, The Cohesion of Oppression instead focuses on politics outside the central heartland. Adopting a "view from below," it explores the interaction of central and local power bases and delineates the transformations introduced into the system by German and Belgian colonial policies that consciously sought to bolster one ethnic group as agents of colonial administration.

In the three years before independence, violent conflict in Rwanda resulted in the abolition of the monarchy, the expulsion of the ruling Tuutsi ethnic group from power, and the installation of rival Hutu authorities to take control of a presidential regime with an elected Assembly. While basic Rwandan cultural norms persisted during and after the revolution, significant alterations had taken place in the locus of political power and social categories that had access to high office. This book considers both the internal and the non-Rwandan influences that substantially affected these alterations but concentrates on the former, since such an approach has in general been more neglected.

 

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Contents

The Social Preconditions of Revolution I
1
Early Contacts
23
State and Society under Rwabugiri
38
Dual Colonialism
53
Early Clientship 73 The Changing Status of Corporate Kin Groups
95
The Transformation of Client Institutions
117
THE COHESION OF OPPRESSION
151
PreIndependence Politics and Protest
180
Conclusions
207
Modern Kinyaga
219
Note on Methods and Sources
227
List of Informants
233
Notes
243
94
294
Index
309
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About the author (1988)

Catherine Newbury is Associate Professor of Political Science and African Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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