Obama Made in Kenya: Appropriating the American Dream in Kogelo

Posted in Africa, Anthropology, Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science on 2013-07-19 02:07Z by Steven

Obama Made in Kenya: Appropriating the American Dream in Kogelo

Africa Today
Volume 59, Number 4, Summer 2013
pages 68-90
DOI: 10.1353/at.2013.0027

Karin van Bemmel
Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

In November 2008, millions of Kenyan citizens expressed their happiness about the election of Barack Obama as President of the United States. Four years later, people still cheered upon receiving the news of his reelection, but their enthusiasm was nowhere near the euphoria of those earlier days. This article focuses on the consequences of Obama’s presidency over four years in western Kenya—where Obama’s father was raised—and argues that the appropriation of Obama serves multiple purposes, including the negotiation of identity, enabling social and political change, facilitating processes of healing and harmony, and creating conditions for peace after the 2007 postelection violence. Looking at the appropriation of Obama in Kenya enables us to study the processes of change, the localization of global flows, and the ongoing dialogical process of identity negotiation within a sociopolitical context.

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