Globalization and identity. Dialectics of flow and closure pages:177-209
This article explores the impact of the recent diamond traffic on both rural and urban life in southwestern Congo-Zaire, in an attempt at a 'multi-sited' ethnography of the circulation of cultural meanings, commodities, money and identities in an increasingly diffuse time-space, in which the standard dichotomies between rural and urban worlds, lived world and system, traditional and modern, or precapitalist and capitalist realities have lost much of their explanatory strength. More specifically, the article deals with the widespread phenomenon of the bana Lunda, 'the children of Lunda', young Congolese urbanites who travel from all over southwestern Zaire to the Angolan province of Lunda Norte in order to dig or dive for diamonds in the UNITA-controlled territories. It investigates the changes brought about by the diamond trade and by the influx of these urban youngsters into the rural border area, as well as the impact of the accompanying monetization, known as 'dollarization', on the daily life of villagers and urbanites in Southwestern Zaire.