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Oromo Religion in Context: Dual-belonging in East Africa

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African religions in East Africa have been studied without a continuity between a functionalist period of social existence in that they were portrayed as all-inclusive and therefore not separate from a pre-colonial social organization and a post-coloniality in which they seem to be secondary to the existence of the all-encompassing nation-state. This contribution that has its ethnographic setting within the Oromo of Kenya, Ethiopia and the diaspora argues that a trans-migration has taken place to places of exile, such as Eritrea or the United States but that those who have been associated with Gada as an age-system have become ‘dual belongers’ within the categories used to describe dwellers on two world religions in larger discussions. The analytical category of dual belonging used within larger discussions on the world religions has never been applied to African religion. I would argue that there is the possibility of unifying symbolic categories of ethnic belonging with processes of religious diversification as a globalized unification within East African religion in general and within Oromo religion. Thus, oceans and deserts do not divide but strengthen symbolic religious categories.


Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Africana Religions
Issue number1
StateIn preparation - 16 Aug 2018

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