Cultural boundary dynamics: the aghem and fulani of menchum, North West Region of cameroon, 1950-2013

This paper uses the case of the Aghem and Mbororo Fulani in Menchum sub-division of Cameroon to develop a model for cultural boundary that pivots around the construction and reconstruction of exclusionary cultural identities and corresponding grievances. Cultural boundary is viewed as the recurring creation and re-creation of identities, multilayered expressions of belonging and the never-ending process of identification. Thus, it is a process of agent-driven discourse production, in a cultural field that is typified by historical characteristics. Using interview data, archival resources and desk review the study reveals that there was a cultural boundary in Wum around belonging and stretches the historical construction of the Aghem considered as the “host” and “custodians of the land” and the Mbororo Fulani referred to as ‘late-comers’ or “strangers”, illegal migrants or land grabbing invaders whose rights to local resources and power is mediated via their relationship with the local Grassfields population. These different positions stem from individuals’ different institutionalized livelihood practices and normative values that in this case correlate with systems of cultural identity.

Aloysius Nyuymengka Ngalim
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