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6081 -- OBERHOFER, MICHAELA

"Alles Lügen!" Multiethnische Forschung im Südwesten von Burkina Faso
Afrika Spectrum 39.2004:405-426

##"Nothing but lies!" Multi-ethnic research in South-Western Burkina Faso
This paper focuses on the specific research situation in the ethnically and linguistically highly heterogeneous southwest of Burkina Faso. It points out the methodical and empirical implications and limits of multiethnic research. Field work in a multiethnic village is marked by a latent ethnic bias arising for example from the choice of residence and language made by the ethnographer. The author argues that an approach that takes into consideration the perspective of the different ethnic groups can counterbalance those problems. Furthermore, the adoption of a multiethnic approach has advantages in dealing with questions of collective identity. The comparison of self and foreign perceptions of the Phuo - one of the ethnic groups in the southwest of Burkina Faso - reveals the complementary and contrary views about identity and coexistence. Three examples - ritual aspects of land rights, the Dyoro initiation cult and the association as a modern cultural and political resource - show the strategies of selected Phuo for reinforcing their collective identity and boundaries. A new quality in this process of negotiation and boundary drawing is the fixing of formally variable historical events and social conditions in written form, in which the ethnographer becomes equally engaged.##

Keywords: interethnic relations, identity, ethnicity, research methods, multiethnic approach, land rights, rural societies

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