Definition issues of concepts of social cleavages in Africa
This paper is about the definition issues of the social cleavage concepts with a focus on Africa. Social scientists have introduced into their field of research concepts that express social cleavages, favoring the concepts such as “race”, “ethnic”, “tribe”, “caste” or “social class”. The main problem is whether the definitions of concepts are coherent to reflect the complex social realities. Based on the theoretical framework and on the analysis of the definitions, it becomes clear that the social cleavage concepts are not consistent once applied to African societies. For the Rwandan society in particular, it is interesting to realize that a distinguished scholar has never adopted the same concept to identify Hutu, Tutsi and Twa in his works with long-time career. For future researches, it would be better to conduct field surveys before defining a social cleavage concept while taking in account the society dynamic.
Key words: race, ethnic, caste, cleavage, Africa, Rwanda