CAIRN-INT.INFO : International Edition

Birth certificates are the cornerstone of administrative identification, an essential step for the attribution or acquisition of a nationality. However, many residents of French Guiana have never been registered. In 2013, the Ministry of Justice launched a campaign to issue birth certificates to individuals living in several villages on the Maroni River, the border with Suriname. This campaign triggered a series of political conflicts between the elected representatives and the customary village chiefs who did not support it. This article offers a close examination of the political stakes, which go back to the eighteenth century ethnic Maroon wars in Suriname and the subsequent displacement of one Maroon group to French Guiana. This article also demonstrates that the experience of nationality can be plural and is not limited to the legal definition.


  • civil registration
  • nationality
  • border
  • Maroons
  • French Guiana
Catherine Benoît
This is the latest publication of the author on cairn.
Distribution électronique pour P.U.F. © P.U.F.. Tous droits réservés pour tous pays. Il est interdit, sauf accord préalable et écrit de l’éditeur, de reproduire (notamment par photocopie) partiellement ou totalement le présent article, de le stocker dans une banque de données ou de le communiquer au public sous quelque forme et de quelque manière que ce soit.
Loading... Please wait