Abstract

This article offers a discussion on creolization in two island societies: Mauritius and Madagascar. It suggests that in these island states there is a concerted effort to produce national identity and that this process seems to challenge creolization. The article makes three claims: creolization is a process inscribed by the historical experience of oppression; discourses of homogeneity obscure creolization; and creoles are not merely the product of creolization. These claims challenge scholarly perception of creolization as a process that is apolitical and ahistorical. It also interrogates the homogeneity of identity in nation states and the view that creolization is a process of which creoles are a product. The author distinguishes between nationalism in Madagascar and Mauritius, noting that in the latter, a hegemonic discourse of “rootedness” is encouraging certain groups to forge links with actual and fictive “homelands.” The article concludes that creolization is a process that is locally and historically inscribed, producing particular experiences, and that those who are most influenced by it are also increasingly influenced by other global processes of change.

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