Tribe, Nation and the Prospect of a New Switzerland


This research project makes use of the concept of retribalisation - which was developed in various African contexts to account for certain responses to growing urbanization on the continent - by applying it to Switzerland. In order to achieve this, I have selected two case studies from southern Africa; the Copperbelt in Zambia and East London in South Africa which I then apply to a liberal political movement in Switzerland. For my analysis, I have split the concept of retribalisation into four socio-political elements: (i) group identity, (ii) categorization according to progressive ideals, (iii) social & political interaction and (iv) demands on politics. These elements form part of an analytical grid that I constructed according to Jack Goody’s comparative methodology proposed in “The theft of history”. By shedding light on socio-political similarities as analyzed through the four elements, the main argument is that retribalisation occurs across the three cultural contexts.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Elísio Macamo
Co-Supervisor: to be determined


Short bio

Tebuho Winnie Kanyimba is a PhD Candidate on the SNF Sinergia Project "Reversing the Gaze: Towards Post-Comparative Area Studies" at the Centre for African Studies Basel and the Department of Social Sciences of the University of Basel. Previously, she earned an MA degree at the Centre for African Studies Basel. Her MA thesis titled "Independence on the Horizon: Reading History in Namibian Documentary Films of the 1980s" had a main interest in approaching Namibia's liberation history through documentary film. Winnie's academic background in history and philosophy, as well as her research experiences in Basel have enabled her to pursue an ambitious and exciting PhD project that seeks to analyse discourses of identity, citizenship, naturalization and integration in Switzerland against the background of African Studies.

Portrait_Tebuho Winnie Kanyimba

Tebuho Winnie Kanyimba
PhD Candidate in African Studies
Centre for African Studies
Rheinsprung 21
4051 Basel