Africa: The Politics of Suffering and Smiling
The question usually asked about Africa is: 'why is it going wrong?' Is the continent still suffering from the ravages of colonialism? Or is it the victim of postcolonial economic exploitation, poor governance and lack of aid? Whatever the answer, increasingly the result is poverty and violence. In Africa: The Politics of Suffering and Smiling Patrick Chabal approaches this question differently by reconsidering the role of theory in African politics. Chabal discusses the limitations of existing political theories of Africa and proposes a different starting point; arguing that political thinking ought to be driven by the need to address the immediacy of everyday life and death. How do people define who they are? Where do they belong? What do they believe? How do they struggle to survive and improve their lives? What is the impact of illness and poverty? In doing so, Chabal proposes a radically different way of looking at politics in Africa and illuminates the ways ordinary people 'suffer and smile'. This is a highly original addition to Zed's groundbreaking World Political Theories series.
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accountability African countries African politics Africanist political science Africanist political scientists Afrique agency Amílcar Cabral analysis Anthropology approach areas aspects beliefs belonging Cambridge University Press CFA francs Chabal chapter chiefs citizenship clientelism concept conceptualisation conflict contemporary Africa context continent Côte d’Ivoire cultural Daloz Democracy discuss economic activities elites ethnic explain factors Fela Kuti formal generalisation groups historical identity individual informal economy informalisation interpretation issues James Currey kinship labour large number legitimacy liberal democracy linked live London matter means migration modern modernisation morality Mozambique Négritude networks Nigeria norms obligation Oxford Paris patrimonial people’s political action political economy political theory politicians politics in Africa post-colonial post-colonial Africa pre-colonial Princeton University question reciprocity relations relevant religion religious rent-seeking rulers Rwanda sense Sierra Leone simply social science Tanzania theories of Africa trade traditional understand violence Western witchcraft