WP_10-09

Nationalist Rituals and the Construction of Diaspora. The fiftieth anniversary of Ghanaian Independence in Berlin

by Boris Nieswand

Working Papers WP 10-09 
August 2010
ISSN 2192-2357 (MMG Working Papers Print)

Full text: pdf

 


Abstract
This article deals with the question of how a series of public rituals on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Ghanaian independence can be understood in the context of the social construction of diaspora. In the first section the article briefly traces how the idea of the existence of a Ghanaian diaspora became implemented among Ghanaians in Germany. In the second part it will be shown that due to the pluralist character of the Ghanaian population in Germany, the forms and contents of the examined public rituals were highly contested. Nevertheless, all disagreements about the representation of a Ghanaian diaspora gravitate around the idea that something, namely a diaspora, exists that can theoretically be represented in an adequate way. In this sense, the analysis of the Ghana@50 celebration in Berlin contributes to a better understanding of the social and historical processes by which global discourses on diaspora become a self-evident and banal part of migrants’ social reality. In doing so, the article contributes to the debate of whether diasporas should be understood either as realistic entities or ideological constructs. The article examines how the imaginary of diaspora becomes reality through social means.

Author
Boris Nieswand is Social Anthropologist at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity (MMG), Department for Socio-Cultural Diversity, Göttingen.
Nieswand(at)mmg.mpg.de