Nigerian confraternities to conquer the world ?
While the Nigerian brotherhoods have become increasingly prominent in the media given the criminal threat they are said to represent, they have not been the subject of any field research in Nigeria or Europe. This media coverage is fueling a growing confusion between the legal and police categorizations that are used to define these brotherhoods and the pan-African practices and discourses of solidarity and emancipation that they promote. The socio-historical approach developed in this study makes it possible to put into perspective the global expansion of confraternities since the 2000s. It offers another perspective on the role of these secret societies and their inclusion in political economies and different territories. In Europe, the Nigerian confraternities are first and foremost social institutions for the youth and the diasporas. They ensure the reproduction of the power of traditional and political elites abroad by capturing incomes linked to migration (remittances), and therefore play a key role in the production of a form of globalization of Nigerian society from below. They participate in the establishment of moral and social institutions from the south of Nigeria in Europe. Behind a discourse of empowerment and solidarity, the confraternities are thus a transnational network which perpetuates a conservative order, a social hierarchy and the inequalities which they help to naturalize.
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