the pidginization of Luguru politics: administrative ethnography and the paradoxes of indirect rule



The analysis of the tensions of empire that characterize indirect rule is usually hampered by the failure to study critically its discourse of representation and the indigenous resistance and accommodation to it. In this article I make that attempt by describing the administrative ethnography of the Uluguru Mountains in Eastern Tanganyika as a pidgin constructed in a specific contact situation (the baraza, or council meeting) by speakers from both the Luguru substrate or subaltern political discourse and the British superstrate language of political and ethnographic representation. [colonial discourse, political anthropology, indirect rule, invention of tradition, African history]