“Algeria to Me is Beni-Boudouane. I Don’t Know Anything Else”

The Contact Society in Colonial Algeria
Colonial Constructions, Narrations, and Representation in French Algeria
By Giulia Fabbiano

This article deals with the Beni-Boudouane, a population which formed the breeding ground for the recruitment of bachaga Boualem’s harkis during the Algerian war for independence. Through archival and ethnographic research in Mas Thibert, Provence, where this population settled after independence, this study tries to understand the nature, importance and form of colonial contacts in a region where the French were physically absent. There colonization appeared through the formalization of the Beni-Boudouane’s existence as a tribe and through the application of forest laws which served to deprive the population of property. The Beni-Boudouane lived apart from French Algeria until the war. Until then, a few local auxiliaries of the French administration embodied colonial Algeria. In collective memory, this government was perceived as an everyday, normalized reality.


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