By Patrick Chabal
During this ebook, Patrick Chabal discusses the constraints of current political theories of Africa and proposes a special place to begin; arguing that political pondering must be pushed via the necessity to tackle the immediacy of way of life and death. How do humans outline who they are? the place do they belong? What do they believe? How do they fight to outlive and increase their lives? what's the impression of disease and poverty? In doing so, Chabal proposes a notably varied means of taking a look at politics in Africa and illuminates the methods traditional humans "suffer and smile." it is a hugely unique addition to Zed's groundbreaking worldwide Political Theories sequence.
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Extra info for Africa: The Politics of Suffering and Smiling (World Political Theories)
For now, I shall merely point out that this debate echoes that which took place during the colonial period, when the imperial powers sought to outline the boundaries of recognisable ‘groupings’ into which they could place their colonial subjects. Interestingly enough, their view was the opposite of that which prevails today in Africa: the ‘outsider’ was often imbued with greater qualities of work, strength and reliability than the more indolent native. . For the sake of simplicity of usage, and despite its disagreeable connotation, I shall use ‘native’ – and in the rest of the book without inverted commas – instead of autochthon, which is not yet commonly used in English, unlike in, say, French or Dutch.
Here arguments are less clear. Why would Western social scientists be more biased against Africa than about the rest of the non-Western world? The answer in plain language is threefold: racism, cultural superiority and colonialism. I deal with the third in the next section, so let me address the other two. It is a common assumption that, for historical reasons, Westerners are more racist, and more racist of Africans, than others. There is on the surface good ground for this belief but it runs into two serious difficulties.
However, I am more concerned here to touch on the place of women as individuals-within-the-community and to try to assess the extent to which the current condition of women is (merely) a reflection of patriarchy or whether it arises out of a complex combination of ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ factors. How does the division between men and women affect politics? If, as I have argued, questions of origin and identity are crucial, then it is clear that gender cannot be dissociated from the socio- africa cultural considerations that link these two factors.
Africa: The Politics of Suffering and Smiling (World Political Theories) by Patrick Chabal