Spiders of the Market, Enhanced Ebook

Ghanaian Trickster Performance in a Web of Neoliberalism
David Afriyie Donkor
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 07/11/2016
ISBN: 978-0-253-02604-0
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The Ghanaian trickster-spider, Ananse, is a deceptive figure full of comic delight who blurs the lines of class, politics, and morality. David Afriyie Donkor identifies social performance as a way to understand trickster behavior within the shifting process of political legitimization in Ghana, revealing stories that exploit the social ideologies of economic neoliberalism and political democratization. At the level of policy, neither ideology was completely successful, but Donkor shows how the Ghanaian government was crafty in selling the ideas to the people, adapting trickster-rooted performance techniques to reinterpret citizenship and the common good. Trickster performers rebelled against this takeover of their art and sought new ways to out trick the tricksters.

Author Bio

David Afriyie Donkor is Assistant Professor of Performance Studies and Africana Studies at Texas A&M University. He is an actor and a director who has adapted several folktales, personal narratives, and literary works for the stage. His scholarly work is published in Ghana Studies, Cultural Studies, Theatre Survey, and TDR.


“David Afriyie Donkor's experience as a theatre artist and director supports the rich political economic component that frames this analysis of performance and performance traditions for broad audiences.”
 — Jesse Weaver Shipley, Haverford College

“A precise and inviting appeal to political economy, performance, and the enduring relevance of the cultural and archetypal trickster.”
 — D. Soyini Madison, Northwestern University

“What is Philanthropy? will be a useful film that faculty may use to educate students and professionals about the important and complex role of philanthropy in our society. Now, with the challenges posed by the global financial crisis, it is especially important that we have the tools we need to educate people about philanthropy.”
 — Greg Lindsey, Professor, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota

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 — Sarah Jane Rehnorg, Associate Director, RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service, University of Texas at Austin

“Alaimo has taken great pride in compiling a comprehensive, academically informed yet accessible film. . . . What Is Philanthropy? would be a great addition to courses on or related to nonprofits, civic engagement, or service learning. It is best suited for introductory courses for undergraduate students.”
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 — Marc Hardy, Director of Nonprofit Executive Programs, Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dam

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 — William Brown, Associate Professor & Director of the Nonprofit Management Program at Texas A&M University

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 — Nancy Marie Robertson, Associate Professor of History and Philanthropic Studies, Indiana University-Purdue Univeristy, Indi

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 — Robert Fischer, Associate Professor, Mandel School of Applied Sciences at Case Western University

“This project will be a valuable tool in increasing the public’s understanding of the topic of philanthropy. This documentary can be used in our nonprofit courses at North Park University.”
 — Wesley Lindahl, Dean and Nils Axelson Professor of Nonprofit Management, North Park University

“I was impressed, first, with the magnitude of the project and then because philanthropy was presented with a diverse, inclusive, and broad focus.”
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“Your film will provide needed content for the discussion at the higher education level about the valuable role that philanthropy plays in our American culture and now globally. College students can benefit from these stories as they consider career choices and how to best use their time and talent as well as financial resources to make a difference in a cause they care about.”
 — Robert S. Collier, President of Council of Michigan Foundations

“Philanthropy is not well understood by policy makers or the general public. This film will help address that problem. A thorough and honest portrayal of the strengths and shortcomings of philanthropy will be just what the doctor ordered.”
 — Aaron Dorfman, Executive Director, National Committee of Responsive Philanthropy

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 — Lisa M. Dietlin, President and CEO of Lisa M Dietlin & Associates

“Representing American initiative, independence and a cultural preference for nongovernmental approaches, philanthropy at the same time (and to its own detriment) been mythologized and over-idealized so that profound misunderstandings exist about its actual nature, origins and reasons for being. Dr. Alaimo’s documentary, in contrast, enlightens us about what philanthropy actually is and does, and what it can and cannot contribute to our individual and social well-being.”
 — Susan Ostrander, Professor of Sociology, Tufts University

“Although philanthropy has been noted or presented as segments of larger documentaries, I do not believe that anyone has ever attempted a comprehensive treatment of the topic. I am often asked if a resource like this is available. If you are given the opportunity I would urge you to provide support for this worthy endeavor.”
 — Frances Huehls, Associate Librarian, Joseph and Matthew Payton Philanthropic Studies Library, IUPUI

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 — Robert Herman, Professor (retired), University of Missouri-Kansas City

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 — Jill Kramer, Associate Vice President fro Strategic Planning and Grants, Ivy Tech Community College

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 — Joanne Carman, Associate Professor, University of North Carolina-Charlotte

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 — Dennis Young, Director, Nonprofit Studies Program, Georgia State University

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Table of Contents

1. From State to Market: The History of a Social Compact
2. Once Upon a Spider: Ananse and the Counterhegemonic Trickster Ethos
3. Selling the President: Stand-Up Comedy and the Politricks of Endorsement
4. Ma Red’s Maneuvers: Popular Theater and "Progressive" Culture
5. In the House of Stories: Village Aspirations and Heritage Tourism

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