Alice Bellagamba / Georg Klute (eds.): Beside the State – Emergent Powers in Contemporary Africa [PDF]


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234 pp.

Text language: English

In the past twenty years, many parts of the African continent have experienced profound changes, which have led the emergence of new social and political settings. The notion of heterarchy (as opposed to the hierarchical representation of the state as standing above and disciplining other power groups within the society) seems to be more appropriate to describe the current plurality of competing power foci together with the mutable and unstable intertwining of state and non-state actors that emerges from the case studies from Kenya, Somalia, Congo, Chad, Gambia, Ghana and Mozambique that are discussed in this volume.

In these circumstances, the expression beside the state, which the editors chose as the title of this volume, has a double significance. First and foremost, it highlights forms of political organization and leadership that develop alongside the state, and sooner or later end up by either sustaining its apparatus and policies or appropriating its sovereignty by processes of informal privatization. At the same time, the term beside points to a need to discuss under which circumstances and for how long such processes of power building create viable alternatives to the dominant power and organization of the state. Beside may then become below, as the state reasserts its verticality by disciplining or suppressing alternative forces, or beyond, when the powers that develop at the margins of the state, and complement its power, eventually open up innovative and unexpected spaces for political organization and mobilization.

The emphasis is on the appearance of new figures of power, be they non-governmental and community-based organizations in Kenya and Chad, Somali returnees from the diaspora, or the persistence and vitality of neo-traditional political actors, whether they are chiefs in Mozambique or Ghana, religious scholars in Gambia or elders shaping the autonomous government of Somaliland.


Alice Bellagamba / Georg Klute: Tracing Emergent Powers in Contemporary Africa – Introduction

John G. Galaty: Violence and its Mediations – Civil Society, Community Conflict, and the State in East Africa

Luca Ciabarri: No Representation without Redistribution – Somaliland Plural Authorities, the Search for a State and the 2005 Parliamentary Elections

Luca Jourdan: New Forms of Political Order in North Kivu (DRC) – The Case of the Governor Eugene Serufuli

Mirjam de Bruijn: The Impossibility of Civil Organizations in Post-war Chad

Alice Bellagamba: On the Virtue of Margins – A Story of Conflict between Government and Muslim Leadership in Post-1994 Gambia

Paul Nugent: Border Anomalies – The Role of Local Actors in Shaping Spaces along the Senegal-Gambia and Ghana-Togo Borders

Pierluigi Valsecchi: “He Who Sets the Boundary” – Chieftaincy as a “Necessary” Institution in Modern Ghana

Helene Maria Kyed: ‘Traditional’ Leaders Formalization in Post-war Mozambique – Exploring the Ambiguous Space between State and Non-state Domains

Peter Skalník: Rethinking Chiefdoms

Stephen Ellis: Beside the State – An Epilogue

Following the book covers below you will find further publications of our programme analyzing heterarchy of power in African countries:

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