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Title: Settler mythologies : citizenship, land and Kenyan independence
Author: Gibbs, James
Awarding Body: Lancaster University
Current Institution: Lancaster University
Date of Award: 2011
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This is a study of the impact of rapid political change upon identities generated by a privileged minority - Kenya's European settlers - whose position atop the colonial social, economic and political hierarchy had once seemingly been assured by colonial rule, but whose hegemonic position was undermined in the 1950s and then overthrown in the early 1960s. Engaging with a combination of source materials, including the published and unpublished memoirs of settlers themselves, private papers, newspapers, and the archival material of both the Kenyan and British administrations, the study first maps and analyses the emergence of 'settler mythologies' in Kenya from 1903, when white settlement began, and then investigates the impact of political pressures upon these mythologies and upon European settler identity from the 1950s. It examines closely the influence that settler mythologies had upon debates about land ownership and about rights to citizenship, and especially the transformation of those debates, and their impact on the expression of settler values, once independence under majority rule became inevitable. Finally, the relationship between the mythologies of a once hegemonic, racially defined, community and the objectives of an emergent African elite is explored by analysing the symbolism of Kenya's independence celebrations in December 1963 . Settler mythologies remained fundamentally important to the identity of Kenya Europeans, in different ways, whether they were in self-imposed exile or stayed as Kenyan citizens in the independent nation itself. Moreover, elements of settler mythologies had surprising resonance with the new African ruling class and continue to influence depictions and representations of colonial Kenya today.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available