Call edition 2012

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In the Politics of the Rainbow : Creoles and Civil Society in Mauritius

Rosabelle BOSWELL researcher laureate

°1971 South Africa
Master’s degree in social sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa, 1996

In the Politics of the Rainbow : Creoles and Civil Society in Mauritius

The article by Rosabelle Boswell forms part of her doctoral thesis about the Creoles in Mauritius. It is particularly interesting because of its analysis of the way in which the marginalisation of the Creoles on Mauritius is brought about within a context of democracy and rise of the civil society. Rosabelle Boswell reacts to certain analyses, among others Henry Srebnik’s, which do not pay enough attention to the socio-ethnic contrasts. On the other hand, such analyses often imply a very general ode to the civil society. Rosabelle Boswell reacts by showing more in general that the ethnic identity, which is constantly reshaping itself, is a resource for these people, who are descendants of slaves. She also shows how the economic development and the formal democracy go along with the growing socio-ethnic inequalities. By doing so, she puts us on the path of a necessary participation on the level of the local authorities. Without this participation, the marginalised groups would not benefit from the political democratization. This participation cannot be brought about if it is outlined by the dominating groups, by using their cultural formulations. No savings can be made on the symbols, the identity roots and the social networks with which the Creoles identify themselves.

report by Prof. Dr. Marc Poncelet, Social change and development, Department of social sciences, Université de Liège, Belgium