Neoliberalism and the Mis(representation) of the Maasai in Kenya and Tanzania


  • Jing (Aurora) Sun University of British Columbia


Western colonizers are notorious for employing the normative category of “the Other" against people whom they consider to be inferior, subsequently marginalizing those of different cultural and ethnic origins through Eurocentric discourses and material suppressions. In our so-called "post-colonial" period, this paper argues the violence of colonial legacies persists, with certain colonial aspects transfigured into neoliberalism. I look into the ways neoliberal discourses and narratives jeopardize the representation and benefits of the Maasai people living in Kenya and Tanzania today, and how they aim to marginalize the Maasai from their lands. Nonetheless, the Maasai, as autonomous agents, actively engage in neoliberal practices and participate in Indigenous rights activist movements to increase recognition of their rights as holders of their native lands.