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The Possessed and the DispossessedSpirits, Identity, and Power in a Madagascar Migrant Town$
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Lesley Sharp

Print publication date: 1994

Print ISBN-13: 9780520080010

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520080010.001.0001

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National and Local Factions

National and Local Factions

The Nature of Polyculturalism in Ambanja

(p.52) Chapter III National and Local Factions
The Possessed and the Dispossessed

Lesley A. Sharp

University of California Press

As a booming migrant town, Ambanja is a mixture of peoples of diverse origins, not only from within the boundaries of this large island, but from abroad. This town is a microcosm of factions that operate on a national scale. Of these factions, ethnicity is the primary category, one that overlaps with a variety of other group orientations and allegiances. Such groupings or identities, when taken in total, reveal the complexity of the tensions operating in Madagascar and, in turn, in Ambanja. An individual's ability to make sense of and become established as a member of one or more groups determines his or her well-being in this community. As a result, in Ambanja and the surrounding Sambirano Valley, defining what it means to be an insider or an outsider is complex. This chapter addresses the nature of social and cultural divisions that exist, first on a national scale, and then in Ambanja.

Keywords:   Ambanja, factions, ethnicity, groupings, identities, Madagascar, Sambirano, divisions

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