Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Suzanne SooHoo

Second Advisor

Peter McLaren

Third Advisor

Lilia Monzò

Fourth Advisor

Ndindi Kitonga


By asking the question “How do young, urban, professional Kenyans make connections between tribal identity, colonialism, and the lived experience of nationhood?,” the researcher engages with eight participants in exploring their relationships with their tribal groups. From this juncture the researcher, through a co-constructed process with participants, interrogates the idea of nationhood by querying their interpretations of the concepts of power and resistance within their multi-ethnic societies. The utility of KuPiga Hadithi as a cultural responsive methodology for data collection along with poetic analysis as part of the qualitative tools of examination allowed the researcher to identify five emergent and iterative themes: (1) colonial wounds, (2) power inequities, (3) tensions, (4) intersection, and (5) hope. Participant discussion of these themes suggests an impenetrable link between tribal identity and nationhood. Schooling, as first a colonial and then national construct, works to mediate that link. Therefore, there is the need for a re-conceptualization of the term ‘nation’ in the post-Independence era.