Africa Works

Africa Works

Disorder as Political Instrument
Patrick Chabal and Jean-Pascal Daloz
Distribution: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvado
Publication date: 01/22/1999
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 978-0-253-21287-0
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Description

How do political systems in Africa work? Is the "real" business of politics taking place outside the scope of standard political analysis, in an "informal" or more personalised setting? How are the prospects for reform and renewal in African societies affected by the emerging elites? Is "modernisation" in Africa different? Are there within African countries social, political and cultural factors which aspire to the continuation of patrimony and conspire against economic development?

Relations of power between rulers and the ruled continue to inform the role of the state and the expectations of the newly emphasized civil society. The question of identity, the resurgence of ethnicity and its attendant "tribal" politics, the growing importance of African religions and the increasing resort to extreme and often ritualised violence in situations of civil disorder, point to a process of "re-traditionalising" in African societies

African Issues, edited by Alex de Waal
February 1999 192 pp 5 ½ x 8 ½ Index

Author Bio

Patrick Chabal is Professor of Lusophone African Studies at King's College, London.

Jean-Pascal Daloz is a Senior CNRS Researcher at the Centre d'Etude d'Afrique Noire in Bordeaux.

Reviews

“"One of the most stimulating recent analyses of African realpolitik, this book joins the growing literature that challenges the premises underlying Western development assistance." —Foreign Affairs "Two distinguished schlars of Africa have written a short, lucid and astringent corrective to the lazy complacency of much conventional wisdom about the plight of the continent. . . . in these pages one hears the voice of an authentic, coherent Africa not found in the hotel bars of the capital cities by journalists on fleeting missions to the heart of darkness." —International Affairs "This is a thoughtful and rich interpretive essay . . . " —Choice How do political systems in Africa work? How are the prospects for reform and renewal in African societies affected by emerging elites? And is “modernization” in Africa different? The authors conclude that relations of power between rulers and the ruled continue to inform the role of the state and the expectations of the newly emphasized civil society, a process they call “re-traditionalizing.””

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Transitions and continuities: the question of analysis
I THE INFORMALISATION OF POLITICS
Whither the state?
The illusions of civil society
Recycled elites
II THE RE-TRADITIONALISATION OF SOCIETY
Of masks and men: the question of identity
The use and abuse of the irrational: witchcraft and religion
Warlords, bosses and thugs: the profits of violence
III THE PRODUCTIVITY OF ECONOMIC "FAILURE"
The moral economy of corruption
The bounties of dependence
"What if Africa refused to develop?"
Conclusion: A new paradigm: the political instrumentalisation of disorder