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Urbanization and the Politics of Identity in Buea: A Sociological Perspective

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Urbanization and the Politics of Identity in Buea: A Sociological Perspective

Fanny Jose Mbua

Fanny Jose Mbua "Urbanization and the Politics of Identity in Buea: A Sociological Perspective" Published in International Journal of Trend in Scientific Research and Development (ijtsrd), ISSN: 2456-6470, Volume-4 | Issue-5, August 2020, pp.772-798, URL: https://www.ijtsrd.com/papers/ijtsrd33078.pdf

Urbanization plays a distinct and important role in producing political relationships. Identity politics which is strongly linked to sense of belonging is an important dimension of political relationships in urban areas. This study examines the relationship between urbanization and the politics of identity in Buea. The research is a descriptive documentary research with data collected from secondary sources (former studies and reports, newspapers, archival records and internet publications) with few interviews. Data collection procedures included reading and note-taking. Data was analyzed using thematic content analysis whereby concepts and ideas were grouped together under umbrella key words to appreciate the trends in them. The Instrumentalist Theory of Ethnicity was the framework that guided the study. The themes were geared towards outlining how ethnicity has been a tool of political control. Data was gathered from the different epochs that have marked urbanization in Buea, from the Native Authority to the present Buea Rural Council, demonstrating how this has influenced relationships between natives and non-natives. Results show that, starting as a colonial town, and most especially with her changing status as the capital successively of German Cameroon, British Southern Cameroons, and West Cameroon, coupled with the fact that she has had to harbour several institutions, Buea has experienced rapid urbanization. It also reveals that, just as colonialism is responsible for rapid urbanization in Buea, it has constructed differences between “us” and the “other” aimed at protecting indigenous minorities. In essence, the thesis demonstrates how the transition of Buea from a rural to an urban settlement has led to several types of relations across identity division, especially between insiders and outsiders as well as among native segments as each strives to dominate the political milieu. Although the non-natives are in a demographic majority, they occupy a minority position within the Council. Most especially, the recruitment policy of the Councilfavours natives, to the detriment of non-natives. Land restitution and re-alienation has ushered in a paradigm shift from tensions between natives and non-natives to an era of peaceful co-existence.

Urbanization, Politics, Identity, Buea, Sociology

Volume-4 | Issue-5, August 2020
IJTSRD | www.ijtsrd.com | E-ISSN 2456-6470
Copyright © 2019 by author(s) and International Journal of Trend in Scientific Research and Development Journal. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 4.0) (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

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