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When the diaspora takes charge: state making and diaspora return in Rwanda

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Duration: 0:28:06 | Added: 23 Feb 2016
Simon Turner explores state and nation building in Rwanda since its 1994 genocide

Over the past sixty years, Rwanda has experienced massive population displacements due to ethnic tensions, war and genocide. These movements of populations have in turn caused radical transformations of the political landscape in the country. This presentation explores state and nation building in Rwanda since the genocide when the Tutsi diaspora returned in large numbers and created a state that was meant to be radically different to the pre-genocide state. I argue that the returning diaspora sees the country as virgin soil and that the diaspora itself has a great responsibility to develop the country and prevent it ‘sliding back’ into ‘genocide ideologies’. This creates a new political elite of returnees with a strong ideology of top-down developmentalism. Furthermore, I argue that the Rwandan state is performed – and hence made – through regulating populations according to when and where they moved across the borders.

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