Ethnic Encounters and Everyday Economics in Kassumba, Guinea-Bissau


Geography and Anthropology

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This paper presents evidence of ethnocultural coexistence strategies as a counter-argument to more pessimistic views for inter-ethnic relations. The community under ethnographic investigation is the semi-isolated, southern village of Kassumba, Guinea-Bissau in West Africa. The minority Islamic Nalú claim territorial hegemony while spiritist Balanta immigrants outnumber the Nalú three to one. This paper finds that inter-ethnic cooperation through hospitality, mutually beneficial economic arrangements, and the fashioning of individual- and community-level social bonds are important approaches to making a living in this village. This paper contributes to the ongoing discussions regarding the relationships between cultural identity, livelihood and the politicized organization of space