Book review: Unsettled: Denial and belonging among White Kenyans by Janet McIntosh

  • Carla Roets University of the Western Cape


McIntosh’s, Unsettled: Denial and belonging among White Kenyans, is an ethnography of White Kenyan settler descendants who are battling with their identities and sense of belonging in the post-colonial Kenya. The author shares numerous stories of various ordinary interactions with her respondents (aged 20 – 80), as well as interactions from semistructured and open ended interviews. McIntosh notes that “ethnographies of elite groups are somewhat unusual; most cultural anthropologists prefer to explore the experiences of people who don’t have much of a voice” (pg.14), but with this ethnographic account of White settler descendants, the author provides the reader with a critical look into Whiteness and White privilege
by documenting how the respondents situate themselves between the colonial past and post-colonial present.