Using colonial Algeria as the starting point of her analysis, Patricia Lorcin explores the manner in which ethnic categories and cultural distinctions are developed and used in society. She focuses on the colonial images of ""good"" Kabyle and ""bad"" Arab (usually referred to as the Kabyle Myth) and examines the circumstances out of which they arose, as well as the intellectual and ideological influences which shaped them. Her study demonstrates how these images were used to negate the underlying beliefs and values of the dominated society and to impose French cultural, social and political values. By tracing the evolution of ethnic categories over time, Lorcin reveals their inherently unstable nature and the continual process of redefinition in accordance with circumstance and political or social expediency.
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Patricia Lorcin has a doctorate from Columbia University and presently lives in Abidjan.
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