By Area: Africa
View: By Date | Alphabetical | eBooks
Abortion in Post-revolutionary Tunisia
Politics, Medicine and Morality
After the revolution of 2011, the electoral victory of the Islamist party ‘Ennahdha’ allowed previously silenced religious and conservative ideas about women’s right to abortion to be expressed. This also allowed healthcare providers in the public sector to refuse abortion and contraceptive care. This book explores the changes and continuity in the local discourses and practices related to the body, sexuality, reproduction and gender relationships. It also investigates how the bureaucratic apparatus of government healthcare facilities affects the complex moral world of clinicians and patients.
Advancing Refugee Protection in South Africa
Handmaker, J., Hunt, L. A. de la, & Klaaren, J. (eds)
Divided into three thematic parts to guide the reader, this important volume documents the development and implementation of refugee policy in South Africa over a 10-year period from 1996 until 2006. In doing so, it addresses issues of detention, gender, children and health as well as welfare policies for refugees. The contributions, all written by academics and practitioners of refugee protection, vividly illustrate the tangible shifts and concerns of a process that is not only aimed at establishing policies and legislation but also practices concerning refugees.
Subject: Refugee and Migration Studies
Intersections between History and Anthropology in Cameroon
Fowler, I. & Zeitlyn, D. (eds)
Cameroon is characterized by an extraordinary geographical, cultural, and linguistic diversity. This collection of essays by eminent historians and anthropologists summarizes three generations of research in Cameroon that began with the collaboration of Phyllis Kaberry and E. M. Chilver soon after the Second World War and continues to this day. The idea for this book arose from a concern to recognize the continuing influence of E. M. Chilver on a wide variety of social, historical, political and economic studies. The result is a volume with a broad historical scope yet one that also focuses on major contemporary theoretical issues such as the meaning and construction of ethnic identities and the anthropological study of historical processes.
For more information on this title and related publications, go to
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Colonial History
Essays toward a Literary Anthropology of Nigeria
Nigeria is a country shaped by internal diversity and transnational connections, past and present. Leading Nigerian writers from Chinua Achebe, Amos Tutuola and Wole Soyinka to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Teju Cole have portrayed these Nigerian issues, and have also written about some of the momentous events in Nigerian history. Afropolitan Horizons discusses their work alongside other novelists and commentators, as well as describing the ways in which Nigeria has appeared in foreign news reporting. It is all interwoven with the author’s own anthropological field research in a town in Central Nigeria.
After Corporate Paternalism
Material Renovation and Social Change in Times of Ruination
In this ethnographic study of post-paternalist ruination and renovation, Christian Straube explores social change at the intersection of material decay and social disconnection in the former mine township Mpatamatu of Luanshya, one of the oldest mining towns on the Zambian Copperbelt. Touching on topics including industrial history, colonial town planning, social control and materiality, gender relations and neoliberal structural change, After Corporate Paternalism offers unique insights into how people reappropriate former corporate spaces and transform them into personal projects of renovation, fundamentally changing the characteristics of their community.
Peer Socialisation, Schooling and Agency in a Zambian Village
Growing up with social and economic upheaval in the peripheries of global neoliberalism, children in rural Zambia are presented with diverging social and moral protocols across homes, classrooms, church halls, and the streets. Mostly unmonitored by adults, they explore the ambiguities of adult life in playful interactions with their siblings and kin across gender and age. Drawing on rich linguistic-ethnographic details of such interactions combined with observations of school and household procedures, the author provides a rare insight into the lives, voices, and learning paths of children in a rural African setting.
Sexuality and Middle Class Self-Perceptions in Nairobi
Among both male and female young urban professionals in Nairobi, sexuality is a key to achieving a ‘modern’ identity. These young men and women see themselves as the avant garde of a new Africa, while they also express the recurring worry of how to combine an ‘African’ identity with the new lifestyles with which they are experimenting. By focusing on public debates and their preoccupations with issues of African heritage, gerontocratic power relations and conventional morality on the one hand, and personal sexual relationships, intimacy and self-perceptions on the other, this study works out the complexities of sexuality and culture in the context of modernity in an African society. It moves beyond an investigation of a health or development perspective of sexuality and instead examines desire, pleasure and eroticism, revealing new insights into the methodology and theory of the study of sexuality within the social sciences. Sexuality serves as a prism for analysing how social developments generate new notions of self in postcolonial Kenya and is a crucial component towards understanding the way people recognize and deal with modern changes in their personal lives.
At Home in the Okavango
White Batswana Narratives of Emplacement and Belonging
An ethnographic portrayal of the lives of white citizens of the Okavango Delta, Botswana, this book examines their relationships with the natural and social environments of the region. In response to the insecurity of their position as a European-descended minority in a postcolonial African state, Gressier argues that white Batswana have developed cultural values and practices that have allowed them to attain high levels of belonging. Adventure is common for this frontier community, and the book follows their safari lifestyles as they construct and perform localized identities in their interactions with dangerous wildlife, the broader African community, and the global elite via their work in the nature-tourism industry.
Subject: Anthropology (General)
Between Bombs and Good Intentions
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the Italo-Ethiopian war, 1935-1936
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have highlighted again the precarious situation aid agencies find themselves in, caught as they are between the firing lines of the hostile parties, as they are trying to alleviate the plight of the civilian populations. This book offers an illuminating case study from a previous conflict, the Italo-Ethiopian war of 1935-36, and of the humanitarian operation of the Red Cross during this period. Based on fresh material from Red Cross and Italian military archives, the author examines highly controversial subjects such as the Italian bombings of Red Cross field hospitals, the treatment of Prisoners of War by the two belligerents; and the effects of Fascist Italy’s massive use of poison gas against the Ethiopians. He shows how Mussolini and his ruthless regime, throughout the seven-month war, manipulated the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) – the lead organization of the Red Cross in times of war, helped by the surprising political naïveté of its board. During this war the ICRC redefined its role in a debate, which is fascinating not least because of its relevance to current events, about the nature of humanitarian action. The organization decided to concern itself exclusively with matters falling under the Geneva Conventions and to give priority to bringing relief over expressing protest. It was a decision that should have far-reaching consequences, particularly for the period of World War II and the fate of Jews in Nazi concentration camps.
Beyond the Lens of Conservation
Malagasy and Swiss Imaginations of One Another
The global agenda of Nature conservation has led to the creation of the Masoala National Park in Madagascar and to an exhibit in its support at a Swiss zoo, the centerpiece of which is a mini-rainforest replica. Does such a cooperation also trigger a connection between ordinary people in these two far-flung places? The study investigates how the Malagasy farmers living at the edge of the park perceive the conservation enterprise and what people in Switzerland see when looking towards Madagascar through the lens of the zoo exhibit. It crystallizes that the stories told in either place have almost nothing in common: one focuses on power and history, the other on morality and progress. Thus, instead of building a bridge, Nature conservation widens the gap between people in the North and the South.
Biopolitics, Militarism, and Development
Eritrea in the Twenty-First Century
O'Kane, D. & Hepner, T. R. (eds)
Bringing together original, contemporary ethnographic research on the Northeast African state of Eritrea, this book shows how biopolitics - the state-led deployment of disciplinary technologies on individuals and population groups - is assuming particular forms in the twenty-first century. Once hailed as the “African country that works,” Eritrea’s apparently successful post-independence development has since lapsed into economic crisis and severe human rights violations. This is due not only to the border war with Ethiopia that began in 1998, but is also the result of discernible tendencies in the “high modernist” style of social mobilization for development first adopted by the Eritrean government during the liberation struggle (1961–1991) and later carried into the post-independence era. The contributions to this volume reveal and interpret the links between development and developmentalist ideologies, intensifying militarism, and the controlling and disciplining of human lives and bodies by state institutions, policies, and discourses. Also assessed are the multiple consequences of these policies for the Eritrean people and the ways in which such policies are resisted or subverted. This insightful, comparative volume places the Eritrean case in a broader global and transnational context.
Music, Ideology and Economic Collapse, from Paris to Kinshasa
Based on fieldwork in Kinshasa and Paris, Breaking Rocks examines patronage payments within Congolese popular music, where a love song dedication can cost 6,000 dollars and a simple name check can trade for 500 or 600 dollars. Tracing this system of prestige through networks of musicians and patrons – who include gangsters based in Europe, kleptocratic politicians in Congo, and lawless diamond dealers in northern Angola – this book offers insights into ideologies of power and value in central Africa’s troubled post-colonial political economy, as well as a glimpse into the economic flows that make up the hidden side of the globalization.
Breast Feeding and Sexuality
Behaviour, Beliefs and Taboos among the Gogo Mothers in Tanzania
Whereas in western countries breastfeeding is an uncontroversial, purely personal issue, in most parts of the world mother and baby form part of a network of interpersonal relations with its own rules and expectations. In this study, the author examines the cultural and social context of breastfeeding among the Gogo women of the Cigongwe's village in Tanzania, as part of the Paediatric Programme of Doctors with Africa, based in Padua. The focus is on mothers' behaviour and post partum taboos as key elements in Gogo understanding of the vicissitudes of the breast feeding process. This nutritional period is subject to many different events both physical and social that may upset the natural and intense link between mother and child. Any violation of cultural norms, particularly those dealing with sexual behaviour, marriage and reproduction, can, in the eyes of the Gogo, put at risk the correct development of an infant with serious consequences both for the baby's health as well as for the woman's image as mother and wife.
Young Men and Rural Permanence in Migrant West Africa
Whereas most studies of migration focus on movement, this book examines the experience of staying put. It looks at young men living in a Soninke-speaking village in Gambia who, although eager to travel abroad for money and experience, settle as farmers, heads of families, businessmen, civic activists, or, alternatively, as unemployed, demoted youth. Those who stay do so not only because of financial and legal limitations, but also because of pressures to maintain family and social bases in the Gambia valley. ‘Stayers’ thus enable migrants to migrate, while ensuring the activities and values attached to rural life are passed on to the future generations.
Max Esser's Expedition and its Consequences
Chilver, E. M. & Röschenthaler, U. (eds)
Max Esser was an adventurous young merchant banker, a Rhinelander, who became the first managing director of the largest German plantation company in Cameroon. This volume gives a vivid account of the antecedents and early stages as experienced and described by Esser. In 1896 he ventured, with the explorer Zintgraff, into the hinterland to seek the agreement of Zintgraff's old ally, the ruler of Bali, for the provision of laborers for his projected enterprise. The consequences, many optimistically unforeseen, are illustrated with the help of contemporary materials. Esser's account is preceded by a look at his and his family's connections, added to by an account of newspaper campaigns against him, and completed by an examination of his Cameroon collection, which he gave to the Linden Museum in Stuttgart.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Colonial History
How Aesthetics Shapes Politics in Mursiland, Ethiopia
Loving cows, then killing them. The relation with cattle in Mursi country is shaped by the dichotomy between the value given to it during life and the death imposed upon it. The killing of cattle may be brief and inflicted with few words, but it is preceded by a series of intense aesthetic practices, such as body painting and adornments, colour poetics, poems and oratory art. This book investigates the link between the nurturing and killing of cattle with Mursi daily life and finds that these rituals cut across pastoralism, social organisation and politics in forming the very fabric of Mursi society.
Challenge and Transformation
Museums in Cape Town and Sydney
Focusing on how change takes place in museums, Challenge and Transformation: Museums in Cape Town and Sydney is built around a series of case studies outlining the way museums have come to terms with issues of diversity and change - within ethnographic museums, historic sites and art galleries. The case studies are complemented by an introduction by Jack Lohman and an epilogue by the current CEO at Iziko Museums, Jatti Bredekamp.
Subject: Museum Studies
Changing Identifications and Alliances in North-east Africa
Volume I: Ethiopia and Kenya
Schlee, G. & Watson, E. E. (eds)
Forms of group identity play a prominent role in everyday lives and politics in northeast Africa. Case studies from Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya illustrate the way that identities are formed and change over time, and how local, national, and international politics are interwoven. Specific attention is paid to the impact of modern weaponry, new technologies, religious conversion, food and land shortages, international borders, civil war, and displacement on group identities. Drawing on the expertise of anthropologists, historians and geographers, these volumes provide a significant account of a society profoundly shaped by identity politics and contribute to a better understanding of the nature of conflict and war, and forms of alliance and peacemaking, thus providing a comprehensive portrait of this troubled region.
Changing Identifications and Alliances in North-east Africa
Volume II: Sudan, Uganda, and the Ethiopia-Sudan Borderlands
Schlee, G. & Watson, E. E. (eds)
Forms of group identity play a prominent role in everyday lives and politics in north-east Africa. These volumes provide an interdisciplinary account of the nature and significance of ethnic, religious, and national identity in north-east Africa. Case studies from Sudan, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya illustrate the way that identities are formed and change over time, and how local, national, and international politics are interwoven. Specific attention is paid to the impact of modern weaponry, new technologies, religious conversion, food and land shortages, international borders, civil war, and displacement on group identities. Drawing on the expertise of anthropologists, historians and geographers, these volumes provide a significant account of a society profoundly shaped by identity politics and contribute to a better understanding of the nature of conflict and war, and forms of alliance and peacemaking, thus providing a comprehensive portrait of this troubled region.
Changing Properties of Property
Benda-Beckmann, K. von, Benda-Beckmann, F. von & Wiber, M. (eds)
As an important contribution to debates on property theory and the role of law in creating, disputing, defining and refining property rights, this volume provides new theoretical material on property systems, as well as new empirically grounded case studies of the dynamics of property transformations. The property claimants discussed in these papers represent a diverse range of actors, including post-socialist states and their citizens, those receiving restitution for past property losses in Africa, Southeast Asia and in eastern Europe, collectives, corporate and individual actors. The volume thus provides a comprehensive anthropological analysis not only of property structures and ideologies, but also of property (and its politics) in action.
Subjects: Development Studies Anthropology (General)
Children and Youth on the Front Line
Ethnography, Armed Conflict and Displacement
Boyden, J. & Berry, J. de (eds)
War leads not just to widespread death but also to extensive displacement, overwhelming fear, and economic devastation. It weakens social ties, threatens household survival and undermines the family's capacity to care for its most vulnerable members. Every year it kills and maims countless numbers of young people, undermines thousands of others psychologically and deprives many of the economic, educational, health and social opportunities which most of us consider essential for children's effective growth and well being.
Based on detailed ethnographic description and on young people's own accounts, this volume provides insights into children's experiences as both survivors and perpetrators of violence. It focuses on girls who have been exposed to sexual exploitation and abuse, children who head households or are separated from their families, displaced children and young former combatants who are attempting to adjust to their changed circumstances following the cessation of conflict. In this sense, the volume bears witness to the grim effects of warfare and displacement on the young.
Nevertheless, despite the abundant evidence of suffering, it maintains that children are not the passive victims of conflict but engage actively with the conditions of war, an outlook that challenges orthodox research perspectives that rely heavily on medicalized notions of 'victim' and 'trauma.'
Children of the Camp
The Lives of Somali Youth Raised in Kakuma Refugee Camp, Kenya
Chronic violence has characterized Somalia for over two decades, forcing nearly two million people to flee. A significant number have settled in camps in neighboring countries, where children were born and raised. Based on in-depth fieldwork, this book explores the experience of Somalis who grew up in Kakuma refugee camp, in Kenya, and are now young adults. This original study carefully considers how young people perceive their living environment and how growing up in exile structures their view of the past and their country of origin, and the future and its possibilities.
Colonial Seeds in African Soil
A Critical History of Forest Conservation in Sierra Leone
“Empire forestry”—the broadly shared forest management practice that emerged in the West in the nineteenth century—may have originated in Europe, but it would eventually reshape the landscapes of colonies around the world. Melding the approaches of environmental history and political ecology, Colonial Seeds in African Soil unravels the complex ways this dynamic played out in twentieth-century colonial Sierra Leone. While giving careful attention to topics such as forest reservation and exploitation, the volume moves beyond conservation practices and discourses, attending to the overlapping social, economic, and political contexts that have shaped approaches to forest management over time.
Commerce as Politics
The Two Centuries of Struggle for Basotho Economic Independence
Maliehe, S. M.
This is the first comprehensive economic history of the Basotho people of Southern Africa (in colonial Basutoland, then Lesotho) and spans from the 1820s to the present day. The book documents what the Basotho have done on their own account, focusing on their systematic exclusion from trade and their political efforts to insert themselves into their country’s commerce. Although the colonial and post-colonial periods were unfavourable to the Basotho, they have, before and after colonial rule, launched impressive commercial initiatives of their own, which bring hope for greater development and freedom in their struggle for economic independence.
Conservation and Mobile Indigenous Peoples
Displacement, Forced Settlement and Sustainable Development
Chatty, D. & Colchester, M. (eds)
Wildlife conservation and other environmental protection projects can have tremendous impact on the lives and livelihoods of the often mobile, difficult-to-reach, and marginal peoples who inhabit the same territory. The contributors to this collection of case studies, social scientists as well as natural scientists, are concerned with this human element in biodiversity. They examine the interface between conservation and indigenous communities forced to move or to settle elsewhere in order to accommodate environmental policies and biodiversity concerns. The case studies investigate successful and not so successful community-managed, as well as local participatory, conservation projects in Africa, the Middle East, South and South Eastern Asia, Australia and Latin America. There are lessons to be learned from recent efforts in community managed conservation and this volume significantly contributes to that discussion.
Constitutionalism and Transitional Justice in South Africa
Over the last fifteen years, the South African postapartheid Transitional Amnesty Process – implemented by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) – has been extensively analyzed by scholars and commentators from around the world and from almost every discipline of human sciences. Lawyers, historians, anthropologists and sociologists as well as political scientists have tried to understand, describe and comment on the ‘shocking’ South African political decision to give amnesty to all who fully disclosed their politically motivated crimes committed during the apartheid era. Investigating the postapartheid transition in South Africa from a multidisciplinary perspective involving constitutional law, criminal law, history and political science, this book explores the overlapping of the postapartheid constitution-making process and the Amnesty Process for political violence under apartheid and shows that both processes represent important innovations in terms of constitutional law and transitional justice systems. Both processes contain mechanisms that encourage the constitution of the unity of the political body while ensuring future solidity and stability. From this perspective, the book deals with the importance of several concepts such as truth about the past, publicly shared memory, unity of the political body and public confession.
Subject: History (General)
Credit and Debt in an Unequal Society
Establishing a Consumer Credit Market in South Africa
South Africa was one of the first countries in the Global South that established a financialized consumer credit market. This market consolidates rather than alleviates the extreme social inequality within a country. This book investigates the political reasons for adopting an allegedly self-regulating market despite its disastrous effects and identifies the colonialist ideas of property rights as a mainstay of the existing social order. The book addresses sociologists, political scientists, anthropologists and legal scholars interested in the interaction of economy and law in contemporary market societies.
A Creole Nation
National Integration in Guinea-Bissau
Despite high degrees of cultural and ethnic diversity as well as prevailing political instability, Guinea-Bissau’s population has developed a strong sense of national belonging. By examining both contemporary and historical perspectives, A Creole Nation explores how creole identity, culture, and political leaders have influenced postcolonial nation-building processes in Guinea-Bissau, and the ways in which the phenomenon of cultural creolization results in the emergence of new identities.
An Anthropology of Oil
Behrends, A., Reyna, S. P. & Schlee, G. (eds)
Crude Domination is an innovative and important book about a critical topic – oil. While there have been numerous works about petroleum from ‘experience-far’ perspectives, there have been relatively few that have turned the ‘experience-near’ ethnographic gaze of anthropology on the topic. Crude Domination does just this among more peoples and more places than any other volume. Its chapters investigate nuances of culture, politics and economics in Africa, Latin America, and Eurasia as they pertain to petroleum. They wrestle with the key questions vexing scholars and practitioners alike: problems of the economic blight of the resource curse, underdevelopment, democracy, violence and war. Additionally they address topics that may initially appear insignificant – such as child witches and lionmen, fighting for oil when there is no oil, reindeer nomadism, community TV – but which turn out on closer scrutiny to be vital for explaining conflict and transformation in petro-states. Based upon these rich, new worlds of information, the text formulates a novel, domination approach to the social analysis of oil.
Cutting and Connecting
'Afrinesian' Perspectives on Networks, Relationality, and Exchange
Myhre, K. C. (ed)
Questions regarding the origins, mobility, and effects of analytical concepts continue to emerge as anthropology endeavors to describe similarities and differences in social life around the world. Cutting and Connecting rethinks this comparative enterprise by calling in a conceptual debt that theoretical innovations from Melanesian anthropology owe to network analysis originally developed in African contexts. On this basis, the contributors adopt and employ concepts from recent studies of Melanesia to analyze contemporary life on the African continent and to explore how this exchange influences the borrowed anthropological perspectives. By focusing on ways in which networks are cut and connections are made, these empirical investigations show how particular relationships are created in today’s Africa. In addition, the volume aims for an approach that recasts relationships between theory and place and concepts and ethnography, in a manner that destabilizes the distinction between fieldwork and writing.
Movement, Morality and Self-fashioning in Urban Senegal
Neveu Kringelbach, H.
Senegal has played a central role in contemporary dance due to its rich performing traditions, as well as strong state patronage of the arts, first under French colonialism and later in the postcolonial era. In the 1980s, when the Senegalese economy was in decline and state fundingwithdrawn, European agencies used the performing arts as a tool in diplomacy. This had a profound impact on choreographic production and arts markets throughout Africa. In Senegal, choreographic performers have taken to contemporary dance, while continuing to engage with neo-traditional performance, regional genres like the sabar, and the popular dances they grew up with. A historically informed ethnography of creativity, agency, and the fashioning of selves through the different life stages in urban Senegal, this book explores the significance of this multiple engagement with dance in a context of economic uncertainty and rising concerns over morality in the public space.
Subjects: Performance Studies Anthropology (General)
The Decolonial Mandela
Peace, Justice and the Politics of Life
A significant contribution to the emerging literature on decolonial studies, this concise and forcefully argued volume lays out a groundbreaking interpretation of the “Mandela phenomenon.” Contrary to a neoliberal social model that privileges adversarial criminal justice and a rationalistic approach to war making, Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni identifies transformative political justice and a reimagined social order as key features of Nelson Mandela’s legacy. Mandela is understood here as an exemplar of decolonial humanism, one who embodied the idea of survivor’s justice and held up reconciliation and racial harmony as essential for transcending colonial modes of thought.
Subject: History: 20th Century to Present
An Ethnography of the World Bank-Uganda Partnership
Sande Lie, J. H.
Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork within the World Bank and a Ugandan ministry, this book critically examines how the new aid architecture recasts aid relations as a partnership. While intended to alter an asymmetrical relationship by fostering greater recipient participation and ownership, this book demonstrates how donors still seek to retain control through other indirect and informal means. The concept of developmentality shows how the World Bank’s ability to steer a client’s behavior is disguised by the underlying ideas of partnership, ownership, and participation, which come with other instruments through which the Bank manipulates the aid recipient into aligning with its own policies and practices.
Subjects: Development Studies Anthropology (General)
Doing Conceptual History in Africa
Fleisch, A. & Stephens, R. (eds)
Employing an innovative methodological toolkit, Doing Conceptual History in Africa provides a refreshingly broad and interdisciplinary approach to African historical studies. The studies assembled here focus on the complex role of language in Africa’s historical development, with a particular emphasis on pragmatics and semantics. From precolonial dynamics of wealth and poverty to the conceptual foundations of nationalist movements, each contribution strikes a balance between the local and the global, engaging with a distinctively African intellectual tradition while analyzing the regional and global contexts in which categories like “work,” “marriage,” and “land” take shape.
Subject: History (General)
The Early Morning Phonecall
Somali Refugees' Remittances
As migration from poverty-stricken and conflict-affected countries continues to hit the headlines, this book focuses on an important counter-flow: the money that people send home. Despite considerable research on the impact of migration and remittances in countries of origin - increasingly viewed as a source of development capital - still little is known about refugees’ remittances to conflict-affected countries because such funds are most often seen as a source of conflict finance. This book explores the dynamics, infrastructure, and far-reaching effects of remittances from the perspectives of people in the Somali regions and the diaspora. With conflict driving mass displacement, Somali society has become progressively transnational, its vigorous remittance economy reaching from the heart of the global North into wrecked cities, refugee camps, and remote rural areas. By ‘following the money’ the author opens a window on the everyday lives of people caught up in processes of conflict, migration, and development. The book demonstrates how, in the interstices of state disruption and globalisation, and in the shadow of violence and political uncertainty, life in the Somali regions goes on, subject to complex transnational forms of social, economic, and political innovation and change.
Empire, Global Coloniality and African Subjectivity
Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J.
Global imperial designs, which have been in place since conquest by western powers, did not suddenly evaporate after decolonization. Global coloniality as a leitmotif of the empire became the order of the day, with its invisible technologies of subjugation continuing to reproduce Africa’s subaltern position, a position characterized by perceived deficits ranging from a lack of civilization, a lack of writing and a lack of history to a lack of development, a lack of human rights and a lack of democracy. The author’s sharply critical perspective reveals how this epistemology of alterity has kept Africa ensnared within colonial matrices of power, serving to justify external interventions in African affairs, including the interference with liberation struggles and disregard for African positions. Evaluating the quality of African responses and available options, the author opens up a new horizon that includes cognitive justice and new humanism.
Subject: Colonial History
Encounter, Transformation, and Identity
Peoples of the Western Cameroon Borderlands, 1891-2000
Fowler, I. & Fanso, V. (eds)
Bringing together key historical and innovative ethnographic materials on the peoples of the South-West Province of Cameroon and the Nigerian borderlands, this volume presents critical and analytical approaches to the production of ethnic, political, religious, and gendered identities in the region. The contributors examine a range of issues relating to identity, including first encounters and conflict as well as global networking, trans-national families, enculturation, gender, resistance, and death. In addition to a number of very striking illustrations of ethnographic and material culture, this volume contains key maps from early German sources and other original cartographical materials.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Colonial History
Evidence, Ethos and Experiment
The Anthropology and History of Medical Research in Africa
Geissler, P. W. & Molyneux, C. (eds)
Medical research has been central to biomedicine in Africa for over a century, and Africa, along with other tropical areas, has been crucial to the development of medical science. At present, study populations in Africa participate in an increasing number of medical research projects and clinical trials, run by both public institutions and private companies. Global debates about the politics and ethics of this research are growing and local concerns are prompting calls for social studies of the “trial communities” produced by this scientific work. Drawing on rich, ethnographic and historiographic material, this volume represents the emergent field of anthropological inquiry that links Africanist ethnography to recent concerns with science, the state, and the culture of late capitalism in Africa.
Subjects: Medical Anthropology Development Studies
Fear in Bongoland
Burundi Refugees in Urban Tanzania
Spurred by wars and a drive to urbanize, Africans are crossing borders and overwhelming cities in unprecedented numbers. At the center of this development are young refugee men who migrate to urban areas.
This volume, the first full-length study of urban refugees in hiding, tells the story of Burundi refugee youth who escaped from remote camps in central Tanzania to work in one of Africa's fastest-growing cities, Dar es Salaam. This steamy, rundown capital would seem uninviting to many, particularly for second generation survivors of genocide whose lives are ridden with fear. But these young men nonetheless join migrants in "Bongoland" (meaning "Brainland") where, as the nickname suggests, only the shrewdest and most cunning can survive.
Mixing lyrics from church hymns and street vernacular, descriptions of city living in cartoons and popular novels and original photographs, this book creates an ethnographic portrait of urban refugee life, where survival strategies spring from street smarts and pastors' warnings of urban sin, and mastery of popular youth culture is highly valued. Pentecostalism and a secret rift within the seemingly impenetrable Hutu ethnic group are part of the rich texture of this contemporary African story. Written in accessible prose, this book offers an intimate picture of how Africa is changing and how refugee youth are helping to drive that change.
Fierce Medicines, Fragile Socialities
Grounding Global HIV Treatment in Tanzania
Set in Tanga, a city on the Tanzanian Swahili coast, Dominik Mattes examines the implementation of antiretroviral HIV-treatment (ART) in the area, exploring the manifold infrastructural and social fragilities of treatment provision in public HIV clinics as well as patients’ multi-layered struggles of coming to terms with ART in their everyday lives. Based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork, the book shows that, notwithstanding the massive rollout of ART, providing treatment and living a life with HIV in settings like Tanga continue to entail social, economic, and moral challenges and long-term uncertainties, which contradict the global rhetoric of the “normalization of HIV”.
Subjects: Medical Anthropology Development Studies
Production, Exchange and Consumption in West African Migration
Food Connections follows the movement of food from its production sites in West Africa to its final spaces of consumption in Europe. It is an ethnographic study of economic and social life amongst a close-knit community of food producers, traders and consumers and a wide range of small intermediaries that operate in Guinea-Bissau and Portugal. By investigating the way meanings of food and land are embedded in everyday experiences and relationships in the various phases of the movement, on both sides of the migration, it reveals the connections that transnational processes of food production, exchange and consumption generate between two lifeworlds.
The Forest People without a Forest
Development Paradoxes, Belonging and Participation of the Baka in East Cameroon
Lueong, G. M.
Development interventions often generate contradictions around questions of who benefits from development and which communities are targeted for intervention. This book examines how the Baka, who live in Eastern Cameroon, assert forms of belonging in order to participate in development interventions, and how community life is shaped and reshaped through these interventions. Often referred to as ‘forest people’, the Baka have witnessed many recent development interventions that include competing and contradictory policies such as ‘civilize’, assimilate and integrate the Baka into ‘full citizenship’, conserve the forest and wildlife resources, and preserve indigenous cultures at the verge of extinction.
The Conundrum of Cultural Difference, From Tunisia to Japan
Foucault lived in Tunisia for two years and travelled to Japan and Iran more than once. Yet throughout his critical scholarship, he insisted that the cultures of the “Orient” constitute the “limit” of Western rationality. Using archival research supplemented by interviews with key scholars in Tunisia, Japan and France, this book examines the philosophical sources, evolution as well as contradictions of Foucault’s experience with non-Western cultures. Beyond tracing Foucault’s journey into the world of otherness, the book reveals the personal, political as well as methodological effects of a radical conception of cultural difference that extolled the local over the cosmopolitan.
Portrayals of a Continent in Contemporary Mainstream Cinema
Eltringham, N. (ed)
The first decade of the 21st century has seen a proliferation of North American and European films that focus on African politics and society. While once the continent was the setting for narratives of heroic ascendancy over self (The African Queen, 1951; The Snows of Kilimanjaro, 1952), military odds (Zulu, 1964; Khartoum, 1966) and nature (Mogambo, 1953; Hatari!,1962; Born Free, 1966; The Last Safari, 1967), this new wave of films portrays a continent blighted by transnational corruption (The Constant Gardener, 2005), genocide (Hotel Rwanda, 2004; Shooting Dogs, 2006), ‘failed states’ (Black Hawk Down, 2001), illicit transnational commerce (Blood Diamond, 2006) and the unfulfilled promises of decolonization (The Last King of Scotland, 2006). Conversely, where once Apartheid South Africa was a brutal foil for the romance of East Africa (Cry Freedom, 1987; A Dry White Season, 1989), South Africa now serves as a redeemed contrast to the rest of the continent (Red Dust, 2004; Invictus, 2009). Writing from the perspective of long-term engagement with the contexts in which the films are set, anthropologists and historians reflect on these films and assess the contemporary place Africa holds in the North American and European cinematic imagination.
The Franco-Mauritian Elite
Power and Anxiety in the Face of Change
Mauritian independence in 1968 marked the end of a regime favorable to the Franco-Mauritians, the island’s white colonial elite. Now, in postcolonial Mauritius, this group is faced with a much more diverse power constellation and often feels in competition with others vying for their privileges. Though this is a clear departure from the colonial heydays, Franco-Mauritians have been able to continue their elite position into the early twenty-first century. This book focuses on the power of white elites still lingering on in postcolonial realities, and with regards to elites and power in general, addresses anew how an elite group aims to prolong its position over time.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Development Studies
Friendship, Descent and Alliance in Africa
Guichard, M., Grätz, T., & Diallo, Y. (eds)
Friendship, descent and alliance are basic forms of relatedness that have received unequal attention in social anthropology. Offering new insights into the ways in which friendship is conceptualized and realized in various sub-Saharan African settings, the contributions to this volume depart from the recent tendency to study friendship in isolation from kinship. In drawing attention to the complexity of the interactions between these two kinds of social relationships, the book suggests that analyses of friendship in Western societies would also benefit from research that explores more systematically friendship in conjunction with kinship.
Subject: Anthropology (General)
From Bullies to Officers and Gentlemen
How Notions of Professionalism and Civility Transformed the Ghana Armed Forces
Agyekum, H. A.
Based on unprecedented access to the Ghanaian military barracks and inspired by the recent resurgence of coups in West Africa, Agyekum assesses why and how the Ghana Armed Forces were transformed from an organization that actively orchestrated coups into an institution that accepts the authority of the democratically elected civilian government. Focusing on the process of professionalization of the Ghanaian military, this ethnography based monograph examines both historical and contemporary themes, and assesses the shift in military personnel from ‘Buga Buga’ soldiers – uneducated, lower-class soldiers, human rights abusers – to a more ‘modern’ fighting force.
Funerals in Africa
Explorations of a Social Phenomenon
Jindra, M. & Noret, J. (eds)
Across Africa, funerals and events remembering the dead have become larger and even more numerous over the years. Whereas in the West death is normally a private and family affair, in Africa funerals are often the central life cycle event, unparalleled in cost and importance, for which families harness vast amounts of resources to host lavish events for multitudes of people with ramifications well beyond the event. Though officials may try to regulate them, the popularity of these events often makes such efforts fruitless, and the elites themselves spend tremendously on funerals. This volume brings together scholars who have conducted research on funerary events across sub-Saharan Africa. The contributions offer an in-depth understanding of the broad changes and underlying causes in African societies over the years, such as changes in religious beliefs, social structure, urbanization, and technological changes and health.
German Rule, African Subjects
State Aspirations and the Reality of Power in Colonial Namibia
Although it lasted only thirty years, German colonial rule dramatically transformed South West Africa. The colonial government not only committed the first genocide of the twentieth century against the Herero and Nama, but in their efforts to establish a “model colony” and “racial state,” they brought about even more destructive and long-lasting consequences. In this now-classic study—available here for the first time in English—the author provides an indispensable account of Germany's colonial utopia in what is present-day Namibia, showing how the highly rationalized planning of Wilhelmine authorities ultimately failed even as it added to the profound immiseration of the African population.
Going to Pentecost
An Experimental Approach to Studies in Pentecostalism
Eriksen, A. Blanes, R. L., MacCarthy, M.
Co-authored by three anthropologists with long–term expertise studying Pentecostalism in Vanuatu, Angola, and Papua New Guinea/the Trobriand Islands respectively, Going to Pentecost offers a comparative study of Pentecostalism in Africa and Melanesia, focusing on key issues as economy, urban sociality, and healing. More than an ordinary comparative book, it recognizes the changing nature of religion in the contemporary world – in particular the emergence of “non-territorial” religion (which is no longer specific to places or cultures) – and represents an experimental approach to the study of global religious movements in general and Pentecostalism in particular.
The Good Holiday
Development, Tourism and the Politics of Benevolence in Mozambique
Baptista, J. A.
Drawing on ethnographic research in the village of Canhane, which is host to the first community tourism project in Mozambique, The Good Holiday explores the confluence of two powerful industries: tourism and development, and explains when, how and why tourism becomes development and development, tourism. The volume further explores the social and material consequences of this merging, presenting the confluence of tourism and development as a major vehicle for the exercise of ethics, and non-state governance in contemporary life.
Anthropology in Life and Medicine
Umhlonyane, also known as Artemisia afra, is one of the oldest and best-documented indigenous medicines in South Africa. This bush, which grows wild throughout the sub-Saharan region, smells and tastes like “medicine,” thus easily making its way into people’s lives and becoming the choice of everyday healing for Xhosa healer-diviners and Rastafarian herbalists. This “natural” remedy has recently sparked curiosity as scientists search for new molecules against a tuberculosis pandemic while hoping to recognize indigenous medicine. Laplante follows umhlonyane on its trails and trials of becoming a biopharmaceutical — from the “open air” to controlled environments — learning from the plant and from the people who use it with hopes in healing.
Subject: Medical Anthropology
The Herero Genocide
War, Emotion, and Extreme Violence in Colonial Namibia
Drawing on previously inaccessible and overlooked archival sources, The Herero Genocide undertakes a groundbreaking investigation into the war between colonizer and colonized in what was formerly German South-West Africa and is today the nation of Namibia. In addition to its eye-opening depictions of the starvation, disease, mass captivity, and other atrocities suffered by the Herero, it reaches surprising conclusions about the nature of imperial dominion, showing how the colonial state’s genocidal posture arose from its own inherent weakness and military failures. The result is an indispensable account of a genocide that has been neglected for too long.
Historical Memory in Africa
Dealing with the Past, Reaching for the Future in an Intercultural Context
Diawara, M., Lategan, B., & Rüsen, J. (eds)
A vast amount of literature—both scholarly and popular—now exists on the subject of historical memory, but there is remarkably little available that is written from an African perspective. This volume explores the inner dynamics of memory in all its variations, from its most destructive and divisive impact to its remarkable potential to heal and reconcile. It addresses issues on both the conceptual and the pragmatic level and its theoretical observations and reflections are informed by first-hand experiences and comparative reflections from a German, Indian, and Korean perspective. A new insight is the importance of the future dimension of memory and hence the need to develop the ability to ‘remember with the future in mind’. Historical memory in an African context provides a rich kaleidoscope of the diverse experiences and perspectives—and yet there are recurring themes and similar conclusions, connecting it to a global dialogue to which it has much to contribute, but from which it also has much to receive.
Imagining the Post-Apartheid State
An Ethnographic Account of Namibia
Friedman, J. T.
In northwest Namibia, people’s political imagination offers a powerful insight into the post-apartheid state. Based on extensive anthropological fieldwork, this book focuses on the former South African apartheid regime and the present democratic government; it compares the perceptions and practices of state and customary forms of judicial administration, reflects upon the historical trajectory of a chieftaincy dispute in relation to the rooting of state power and examines everyday forms of belonging in the independent Namibian State. By elucidating the State through a focus on the social, historical and cultural processes that help constitute it, this study helps chart new territory for anthropology, and it contributes an ethnographic perspective to a wider set of interdisciplinary debates on the State and state processes.
The Impact of Electricity
Development, Desires and Dilemmas
How does everyday life change when electricity becomes available to a group of people for the first time? Why do some groups tend to embrace this icon of development while other groups actively fight against it? This book examines the effects of electricity’s arrival in an African, rural community. Based on ethnographic fieldwork in Zanzibar at different points in time, the author provides a compelling account of the social implications in question. The rhythm of life changes and life is speeding up. Sexuality and marriage patterns are affected. And a range of social relations, e.g. between generations and genders, as well as relations between human beings and spirits, become modified. Despite men and women’s general appreciation of the new services electricity provides, new dilemmas emerge. By using electricity as a guide through the social landscape, the particularities of social and cultural life in this region emerge. Simultaneously, the book invites readers to understand the ways that electricity affects and becomes implicated in our everyday life.
Subjects: Development Studies Anthropology (General)
Screening the German Colonies
The beginning of filmmaking in the German colonies coincided with colonialism itself coming to a standstill. Scandals and economic stagnation in the colonies demanded a new and positive image of their value for Germany. By promoting business and establishing a new genre within the fast growing film industry, films of the colonies were welcomed by organizations such as the Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft (German Colonial Society). The films triggered patriotic feelings but also addressed the audience as travelers, explorers, wildlife protectionists, and participants in unique cultural events. This book is the first in-depth analysis of colonial filmmaking in the Wilhelmine Era.
Subjects: Film and Television Studies Colonial History
In Search of Salt
Changes in Beti (Cameroon) Society, 1880-1960
Relatively recent Bantu-speaking migrants to central Cameroon, the Beti have had an eventful history. Based on extensive interviews and traditional Beti (Fang) poetry, in addition to German and French archival sources, the author of this readable study recreates the social structure of the Beti and their self-perceptions in pre-colonial times, their disruptive encounters with first German (1880-1918) and then French (1918-1960) colonialism, until Cameroon’s independence.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Colonial History
In-Betweenness in Greater Khartoum
Spaces, Temporalities, and Identities from Separation to Revolution
Franck, A., Casciarri, B., & Salim El-Hassan, I. (eds)
Focusing on Greater Khartoum following South Sudanese independence in 2011, In-Betweenness in Greater Khartoum explores the impact on society of major political events in areas that are neither urban nor rural, public nor private. This volume uses these in-between spaces as a lens to analyze how these events, in combination with other processes, such as globalization and economic neo-liberalization, impact communities across the region. Drawing on original fieldwork and empirical data, the authors uncover the reshaping of new categories of people that reinforce old dichotomies and in doing so underscore a common Sudanese identity.
Subjects: Urban Studies Peace and Conflict Studies
The Ju/’hoan San of Nyae Nyae and Namibian Independence
Development, Democracy, and Indigenous Voices in Southern Africa
Biesele, M. & Hitchcock, R. K.
The Ju/’hoan San, or Ju/’hoansi, of Namibia and Botswana are perhaps the most fully described indigenous people in all of anthropology. This is the story of how this group of former hunter-gatherers, speaking an exotic click language, formed a grassroots movement that led them to become a dynamic part of the new nation that grew from the ashes of apartheid South West Africa. While coverage of this group in the writings of Richard Lee, Lorna Marshall, Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, and films by John Marshall includes extensive information on their traditional ways of life, this book continues the story as it has unfolded since 1990. Peopled with accounts of and from contemporary Ju>/’hoan people, the book gives newly-literate Ju/’hoansi the chance to address the world with their own voices. In doing so, the images and myths of the Ju/’hoan and other San (previously called “Bushmen”) as either noble savages or helpless victims are discredited. This important book demonstrates the responsiveness of current anthropological advocacy to the aspirations of one of the best-known indigenous societies.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Sociology
Kingdom on Mount Cameroon
Studies in the History of the Cameroon Coast 1500-1970
The Bakweri people of Mount Cameroon, an active volcano on the coast of West Africa a few degrees north of the equator, have had a varied and at times exciting history which has brought them into contact, not only with other West African peoples, but with merchants, missionaries, soldiers and administrators from Portugal, Holland, England, Jamaica, Sweden, Germany and more recently France.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Colonial History
Kinship and Beyond
The Genealogical Model Reconsidered
Bamford, S. & Leach, J. (eds)
The genealogical model has a long-standing history in Western thought. The contributors to this volume consider the ways in which assumptions about the genealogical model—in particular, ideas concerning sequence, essence, and transmission—structure other modes of practice and knowledge-making in domains well beyond what is normally labeled “kinship.” The detailed ethnographic work and analysis included in this text explores how these assumptions have been built into our understandings of race, personhood, ethnicity, property relations, and the relationship between human beings and non-human species. The authors explore the influences of the genealogical model of kinship in wider social theory and examine anthropology’s ability to provide a unique framework capable of bridging the “social” and “natural” sciences. In doing so, this volume brings fresh new perspectives to bear on contemporary theories concerning biotechnology and its effect upon social life.
Subject: Medical Anthropology
The Land Is Dying
Contingency, Creativity and Conflict in Western Kenya
Geissler, P. W. & Prince, R. J.
Based on several years of ethnographic fieldwork, the book explores life in and around a Luo-speaking village in western Kenya during a time of death. The epidemic of HIV/AIDS affects every aspect of sociality and pervades villagers' debates about the past, the future and the ethics of everyday life. Central to such debates is a discussion of touch in the broad sense of concrete, material contact between persons. In mundane practices and in ritual acts, touch is considered to be key to the creation of bodily life as well as social continuity. Underlying the significance of material contact is its connection with growth – of persons and groups, animals, plants and the land – and the forward movement of life more generally. Under the pressure of illness and death, economic hardship and land scarcity, as well as bitter struggles about the relevance and application of Christianity and ‘Luo tradition’ in daily life, people find it difficult to agree about the role of touch in engendering growth, or indeed about the aims of growth itself.
Subjects: Medical Anthropology Anthropology of Religion
Lands of the Future
Anthropological Perspectives on Pastoralism, Land Deals and Tropes of Modernity in Eastern Africa
Gabbert, E. C., Gebresenbet, F., Galaty, J. G., & Schlee, G. (eds)
Rangeland, forests and riverine landscapes of pastoral communities in Eastern Africa are increasingly under threat. Abetted by states who think that outsiders can better use the lands than the people who have lived there for centuries, outside commercial interests have displaced indigenous dwellers from pastoral territories. This volume presents case studies from Eastern Africa, based on long-term field research, that vividly illustrate the struggles and strategies of those who face dispossession and also discredit ideological false modernist tropes like ‘backwardness’ and ‘primitiveness’.
Le Malaise Creole
Ethnic Identity in Mauritius
How does one explain the poverty and marginalization of a group that lives in a remarkably successful economy and peaceful society? A native anthropologist, the author provides critical insight into the dynamics of contemporary Mauritian society. In her meticulously researched study of ethnic, gender and racial discrimination in Mauritius, she addresses debates carried out in many developing societies on subaltern identities, ethnicity, poverty and social injustice. The book therefore also offers important empirical material for scholars interested in the wider Indian Ocean region and beyond.
Lela in Bali
History through Ceremony in Cameroon
Lela in Bali tells the story of an annual festival of eighteenth-century kingdoms in Northern Cameroon that was swept up in the migrations of marauding slave-raiders during the nineteenth century and carried south towards the coast. Lela was transformed first into a mounted durbar, like those of the Muslim states, before evolving in tandem with the German colonial project into a festival of arms. Reinterpreted by missionaries and post-colonial Cameroonians, Lela has become one of the most important of Cameroonian festivals and a crucial marker of identity within the state. Richard Fardon’s recuperation of two hundred years of history is an essential contribution not only to Cameroonian studies but also to the broader understanding of the evolution of African cultures.
Life as a Hunt
Thresholds of Identities and Illusions on an African Landscape
Marks, S. A.
The "extensive wilderness" of Zambia’s central Luangwa Valley is the homeland of the Valley Bisa whose cultural practices have enriched this environment for centuries. Beginning with the intrusions of warlords and later British colonials, successive generations have experienced the callousness and challenges of colonialism. Their homeland, a slender corridor surrounded by three national parks and an escarpment, is a microcosm of the political, economic and cultural battlefields surrounding most African protected areas today. The story of the Valley Bisa diverges from the myths that conservationists, administrators, and philanthropists, tell about Africa’s environmental and wildlife crises.
Local Science Vs Global Science
Approaches to Indigenous Knowledge in International Development
Sillitoe, P. (ed)
While science has achieved a remarkable understanding of nature, affording humans an astonishing technological capability, it has led, through Euro-American global domination, to the muting of other cultural views and values, even threatening their continued existence. There is a growing realization that the diversity of knowledge systems demand respect, some refer to them in a conservation idiom as alternative information banks. The scientific perspective is only one. We now have many examples of the soundness of local science and practices, some previously considered “primitive” and in need of change, but this book goes beyond demonstrating the soundness of local science and arguing for the incorporation of others’ knowledge in development, to argue that we need to look quizzically at the foundations of science itself and further challenge its hegemony, not only over local communities in Africa, Asia, the Pacific or wherever, but also the global community. The issues are large and the challenges are exciting, as addressed in this book, in a range of ethnographic and institutional contexts.
Refugee Populations and Rural Transformations in East Africa
Bascom, J. B.
Refugee flight, settlement, and repatriation are not static, self-contained, or singular events. Instead, they are three stages of an ongoing process made and mirrored in the lives of real people. For that reason, there is an evident need for historical and longitudinal studies of refugee populations that rise above description and trace the process of social transformation during the "full circle" of flight resettlement, and return home. This book probes the economic forces and social processes responsible for shaping the everyday existence for refugees as they move through exile.
Subject: Refugee and Migration Studies
Power, State and Camps in Rwanda's Unity-Building Project
Since the end of the Rwandan genocide, the new political elite has been challenged with building a unified nation. Reaching beyond the better-studied topics of post-conflict justice and memory, the book investigates the project of civic education, the upsurge of state-led neo-traditional institutions and activities, and the use of camps and retreats shape the “ideal” Rwandan citizen. Rwanda’s ingando camps offer unique insights into the uses of dislocation and liminality in an attempt to anchor identities and desired political roles, to practically orient and symbolically place individuals in the new Rwandan order, and, ultimately, to create additional platforms for the reproduction of political power itself.
The Making of the Pentecostal Melodrama
Religion, Media and Gender in Kinshasa
How religion, gender, and urban sociality are expressed in and mediated via television drama in Kinshasa is the focus of this ethnographic study. Influenced by Nigerian films and intimately related to the emergence of a charismatic Christian scene, these teleserials integrate melodrama, conversion narratives, Christian songs, sermons, testimonies, and deliverance rituals to produce commentaries on what it means to be an inhabitant of Kinshasa.
Masks and Staffs
Identity Politics in the Cameroon Grassfields
The Cameroon Grassfields, home to three ethnic groups – Grassfields societies, Mbororo, and Hausa – provide a valuable case study for the anthropological examination of identity politics and interethnic relations. In the midst of the political liberalization of Cameroon in the late 1990s and 2000s, local responses to political and legal changes took the form of a series of performative and discursive expressions of ethnicity. Confrontational encounters stimulated by economic and political rivalry, as well as socially integrative processes, transformed collective self-understanding in Cameroon in conjunction with recent global discourses on human, minority, and indigenous rights. The book provides a vital contribution to the study of ethnicity, conflict, and social change in the anthropology of Africa.
Subject: Anthropology (General)
Media Practices and Changing African Socialities
Helle-Valle, J. & Strom-Mathiesen, A. (eds)
Deriving from innovative new work by six researchers, this book questions what the new media's role is in contemporary Africa. The chapters are diverse - covering different areas of sociality in different countries - but they unite in their methodological and analytical foundation. The focus is on media-related practices, which require engagement with different perspectives and concerns while situating these in a wider analytical context. The contributions to this collection provide fresh ethnographic descriptions of how new media practices can affect socialities in significant but unpredictable ways.
A Historical Anthropology of Kingship in East and Central Africa
As soon as Europeans set foot on African soil, they looked for the equivalents of their kings – and found them. The resulting misunderstandings have lasted until this day. Based on ethnography-driven regional comparison and a critical re-examination of classic monographs on some forty cultural groups, this volume makes the arresting claim that across equatorial Africa the model of rule has been medicine – and not the colonizer’s despotic administrator, the missionary’s divine king, or Vansina’s big man. In a wide area populated by speakers of Bantu and other languages of the Niger-Congo cluster, both cult and dynastic clan draw on the fertility shrine, rainmaking charm and drum they inherit.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Colonial History
Memoirs of a Mbororo
The Life of Ndudi Umaru: Fulani Nomad of Cameroon
This remarkable book recounts the life of Ndudi Umaru, a pastoral nomadic Fulani, who was born in the Nigeria-Cameroon border zone, but spent most of his life in Cameroon where he was treated for leprosy. Left to his own devices at an early age—his illness having separated him from his kith and kin—Ndudi is befriended by Père Boquené, a French missionary who takes him on as a field assistant. Working closely with the young man, Père Boquené realizes Ndudi is a keen observer of his own pastoral society, with its links to a wider social setting, and suggests he record his observations on tape. The result is a rare and sensitive collaboration, which sheds new insight into the world of the Mbororo and the complex and ever-changing social mosaic of West African savanna societies. Ndudi's leprosy and his efforts to find a cure grant him the necessary perspective to analyze this complex world, while still remaining a part of it.
For the western public, the Mbororo have often been the photogenic subjects of "Disappearing World" documentaries or glossy coffee table books. However, this account renders "the exotic" comprehensible, preserving the cultural authenticity of Ndudi's story while making this unique world more accessible to outsiders.
Somali Presence in Urban East Africa
Carrier, N. & Scharrer, T. (eds)
The increased presence of Somalis has brought much change to East African towns and cities in recent decades, change that has met with ambivalence and suspicion, especially within Kenya. This volume demystifies Somali residence and mobility in urban East Africa, showing its historical depth, and exploring the social, cultural and political underpinnings of Somali-led urban transformation. In so doing, it offers a vivid case study of the transformative power of (forced) migration on urban centres, and the intertwining of urbanity and mobility. The volume will be of interest for readers working in the broader field of migration, as well as anthropology and urban studies.
The Magic of Witchcraft
Neither power nor morality but both. Moral power is what Sukuma farmers in Tanzania in times of crisis attribute to an unknown figure they call their witch. A universal process is involved, as much bodily as social, which obstructs the patient’s recovery. Healers turn the table on the witch through rituals showing that the community and the ancestral spirits side with the victim. In contrast to biomedicine, their magic and divination introduce moral values that assess the state of the system and that remove the obstacles to what is taken as key: self-healing. The implied ‘sensory shifts’ and therapeutic effectiveness have largely eluded the literature on witchcraft. This book shows how to comprehend culture other than through the prism of identity politics. It offers a framework to comprehend the rise of witch killings and human sacrifice, just as ritual initiation disappears.
Subjects: Medical Anthropology Anthropology of Religion
Morality and Economic Growth in Rural West Africa
Indigenous Accumulation in Hausaland
The land, labor, credit, and trading institutions of Marmara village, in Hausaland, northern Nigeria, are detailed in this study through fieldwork conducted in two national economic cycles - the petroleum-boom prosperity (in 1977-1979), and the macro-economic decline (in 1985, 1996 and 1998). The book unveils a new paradigm of economic change in the West African savannah, demonstrating how rural accumulation in a polygynous society actually limits the extent of inequality while at the same time promoting technical change. A uniquely African non-capitalist trajectory of accumulation subordinates the acquisition of capital to the expansion of polygynous families, clientage networks, and circles of trading friends. The whole trajectory is driven by an indigenous ethics of personal responsibility. This model disputes the validity of both Marxian theories of capitalist transformation in Africa and the New Institutional Economics.
Subject: Anthropology (General)
Morality, Hope and Grief
Anthropologies of AIDS in Africa
Dilger, H. & Luig, L. (eds)
The HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa has been addressed and perceived predominantly through the broad perspectives of social and economic theories as well as public health and development discourses. This volume however, focuses on the micro-politics of illness, treatment and death in order to offer innovative insights into the complex processes that shape individual and community responses to AIDS. The contributions describe the dilemmas that families, communities and health professionals face and shed new light on the transformation of social and moral orders in African societies, which have been increasingly marginalised in the context of global modernity.
Subject: Medical Anthropology
Multidimensional Change in Sudan (1989–2011)
Reshaping Livelihoods, Conflicts and Identities
Casciarri, B., Assal, M.A.M. & Ireton, F. (eds)
Based on fieldwork largely collected during the CPA interim period by Sudanese and European researchers, this volume sheds light on the dynamics of change and the relationship between microscale and macroscale processes which took place in Sudan between the 1980s and the independence of South Sudan in 2011. Contributors’ various disciplinary approaches—socio-anthropological, geographical, political, historical, linguistic—focus on the general issue of “access to resources.” The book analyzes major transformations which affected Sudan in the framework of globalization, including land and urban issues; water management; “new” actors and “new conflicts”; and language, identity, and ideology.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Development Studies
Heritage-Making, Bagamoyo, and the East African Caravan Trade
In the late nineteenth century, tens of thousands of porters carried ivory every year from the African interior to Bagamoyo, a port town at the Indian Ocean. In the opposite direction, they carried millions of meters of cloth, manufactured in the USA, Europe, and India. This book examines the centrality of the caravan trade, both culturally and economically, to Bagamoyo’s development and cosmopolitan character, while also exploring how this history was silenced when Bagamoyo was instead branded as a slave route town in 2006 in an attempt to qualify it for the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The Myth of Self-Reliance
Economic Lives Inside a Liberian Refugee Camp
For many refugees, economic survival in refugee camps is extraordinarily difficult. Drawing on both qualitative and quantitative research , this volume challenges the reputation of a ‘self-reliant’ model given to Buduburam refugee camp in Ghana and sheds light on considerable economic inequality between refugee households.By following the same refugee households over several years, The Myth of Self-Reliance also provides valuable insights into refugees’ experiences of repatriation to Liberia after protracted exile and their responses to the ending of refugee status for remaining refugees in Ghana.
The Nature of German Imperialism
Conservation and the Politics of Wildlife in Colonial East Africa
Today, the East African state of Tanzania is renowned for wildlife preserves such as the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and the Selous Game Reserve. Yet few know that most of these initiatives emerged from decades of German colonial rule. This book gives the first full account of Tanzanian wildlife conservation up until World War I, focusing upon elephant hunting and the ivory trade as vital factors in a shift from exploitation to preservation that increasingly excluded indigenous Africans. Analyzing the formative interactions between colonial governance and the natural world, The Nature of German Imperialism situates East African wildlife policies within the global emergence of conservationist sensibilities around 1900.
Navigating Colonial Orders
Norwegian Entrepreneurship in Africa and Oceania
Kjerland, K. A. & Bertelsen, B. E. (eds)
Norwegians in colonial Africa and Oceania had varying aspirations and adapted in different ways to changing social, political and geographical circumstances in foreign, colonial settings. They included Norwegian shipowners, captains, and diplomats; traders and whalers along the African coast and in Antarctica; large-scale plantation owners in Mozambique and Hawai’i; big business men in South Africa; jacks of all trades in the Solomon Islands; timber merchants on Zanzibar’ coffee farmers in Kenya; and King Leopold’s footmen in Congo. This collection reveals narratives of the colonial era that are often ignored or obscured by the national histories of former colonial powers. It charts the entrepreneurial routes chosen by various Norwegians and the places they ventured, while demonstrating the importance of recognizing the complicity of such “non-colonial colonials” for understanding the complexity of colonial history.
Subject: Colonial History
Navigating Terrains of War
Youth and Soldiering in Guinea-Bissau
Through the concept of "social navigation," this book sheds light on the mobilization of urban youth in West Africa. Social navigation offers a perspective on praxis in situations of conflict and turmoil. It provides insights into the interplay between objective structures and subjective agency, thus enabling us to make sense of the opportunistic, sometimes fatalistic and tactical ways in which young people struggle to expand the horizons of possibility in a world of conflict, turmoil and diminishing resources.
Subject: Anthropology (General)
A New African Elite
Place in the Making of a Bridge Generation
Focusing on a sub-set of the Dagomba of northern Ghana, this book looks at the first generation to go through secondary school in the north. After university and post-graduate education, they relocate to Accra, the capital, hundreds of miles south. They crossed social and physical space and have become cosmopolitan while holding on to tradition and attachment to their home town. This bridge generation are patrons to those living up north. This book charts their path into elite status and argues that they use the tools gained through education and social connections to influence politics back home.
Subjects: Mobility Studies Development Studies
NGOs and Lifeworlds in Africa
Kalfelis, M. C. & Knodel, K. (eds)
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have become ubiquitous in the development sector in Africa and attracting more academic attention. However, the fact that NGOs are an integral part of the everyday lives of men and women on the continent has been overlooked thus far. In Africa, NGOs are not remote, but familiar players, situated in the midst of cities and communities. By taking a radical empirical stance, this book studies NGOs as a vital part of the lifeworlds of Africans. Its contributions are immersed in the pasts, presents and futures of personal encounters, memories, decision-making and politics.
Subjects: Development Studies Anthropology (General)
Foodways and Humanity in an African Town
In this accessible ethnography of a small town in northern Mozambique, everyday cultural knowledge and behaviors about food, cooking, and eating reveal the deeply human pursuit of a nourishing life. This emerges less through the consumption of specific nutrients than it does in the affective experience of alimentation in contexts that support vitality, compassion, and generative relations. Embedded within central themes in the study of Africa south of the Sahara, the volume combines insights from philosophy and food studies to find textured layers of meaning in a seemingly simple cuisine.
Of Life and Health
The Language of Art and Religion in an African Medical System
Tengan, A. B.
An anthropological study of the health system of the Dagara people of northern Ghana and southern Burkina Faso, Of Life and Health develops a cultural and epistemological lexicon of Dagara life by examining its religious, ritual, and artistic expressions. Consisting of ethnographic descriptions and analyses of six Dagara cultic institutions, each of which deals with different aspects of sustaining and transmitting life, the volume gives a holistic account of the Dagara knowledge system.
On the Edges of Whiteness
Polish Refugees in British Colonial Africa during and after the Second World War
From 1942 to 1950, nearly twenty thousand Poles found refuge from the horrors of war-torn Europe in camps within Britain’s African colonies, including Uganda, Tanganyika, Kenya and Northern and Southern Rhodesia. On the Edges of Whiteness tells their improbable story, tracing the manifold, complex relationships that developed among refugees, their British administrators, and their African neighbors. While intervening in key historical debates across academic disciplines, this book also gives an accessible and memorable account of survival and dramatic cultural dislocation against the backdrop of global conflict.
On the Path to Genocide
Armenia and Rwanda Reexamined
Why did the Armenian genocide erupt in Turkey in 1915, only seven years after the Armenian minority achieved civil equality for the first time in the history of the Ottoman Empire? How can we explain the Rwandan genocide occurring in 1994, after decades of relative peace and even cooperation between the Hutu majority and the Tutsi minority? Addressing the question of how the risk of genocide develops over time, On the Path to Genocide contributes to a better understand why genocide occurs when it does. It provides a comprehensive and comparative historical analysis of the factors that led to the 1915 Armenian genocide and the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, using fresh sources and perspectives that yield new insights into the history of the Armenian and Rwandan peoples. Finally, it also presents new research into constraints that inhibit genocide, and how they can be utilized to attempt the prevention of genocide in the future.
An Ordinary Country
Issues in the Transition from Apartheid to Democracy in South Africa
Disputing the notion of a 'miracle' transition in South Africa, the author argues that the new South Africa had to happen as it did because of the socio-historical make-up of the country and the leading players involved.He identifies and explains some of the turning points at which critical choices were made by local and international forces. Alexander, a former leading political activist and commentator who spent time on Robben Island, goes beyond what he calls 'the effervescence of parliamentary debate and grandstanding' and explores a range of issues in post-apartheid South Africa including national identity and the rainbow nation, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the role and status of language, showing the volatility, the tentativeness,and the fluidity of the evolving situation.
Pastoralism in Africa
Past, Present and Future
Bollig, M., Schnegg, M., & Wotzka, H.-P. (eds)
Pastoralism has shaped livelihoods and landscapes on the African continent for millennia. Mobile livestock husbandry has generally been portrayed as an economic strategy that successfully met the challenges of low biomass productivity and environmental variability in arid and semi-arid environments. This volume focuses on the emergence, diversity, and inherent dynamics of pastoralism in Africa based on research during a twelve-year period on the southwest and northeast regions. Unraveling the complex prehistory, history, and contemporary political ecology of African pastoralism, results in insight into the ingenuity and flexibility of historical and contemporary herders.
Personhood, Nationhood, and the Post-Conflict Moment in Rwanda
This ethnography of personhood in post-genocide Rwanda investigates how residents of a small town grapple with what kinds of persons they ought to become in the wake of violence. Based on fieldwork carried out over the course of a decade, it uncovers how conflicting moral demands emerge from the 1994 genocide, from cultural contradictions around “good” personhood, and from both state and popular visions for the future. What emerges is a profound dissonance in town residents’ selfhood. While they strive to be agents of change who can catalyze a new era of modern Rwandan nationhood, they are also devastated by the genocide and struggle to recover a sense of selfhood and belonging in the absence of kin, friends, and neighbors. In drawing out the contradictions at the heart of self-making and social life in contemporary Rwanda, this book asserts a novel argument about the ordinary lives caught in global post-conflict imperatives to remember and to forget, to mourn and to prosper.
Pitfalls and Pleasures in Cross-Cultural Communication.
Image and Word in a North Cameroon Mission
Picturing Pity is the first full length monograph on missionary photography. Empirically, it is based on an in-depth analysis of the published photographs taken by Norwegian evangelical missionaries in Northern Cameroon from the early nineteen twenties, at the beginning of their activities in this region, and until today. Being part of a large international movement, Norway sent out more missionaries per capita than any other country in Europe.
Marianne Gullestad's main contention is that the need to continuously justify their activities to donors in Europe has led to the creation and maintenance of specific ways of portraying Africans. The missionary visual rhetoric is both based on earlier visualizations and has over time established its own conventions which can now also be traced within secular fields of activity such as international development agencies, foreign policy, human relief organizations and the mass media.
Picturing Pity takes part in the present "pictorial turn" in academic teaching and research, constituting visual images as an exciting site of conversation across disciplinary lines.
Subjects: Colonial History Anthropology (General)
Playing Different Games
The Paradox of Anywaa and Nuer Identification Strategies in the Gambella Region, Ethiopia
Focusing on ethnicity and its relation to conflict, this book goes beyond sterile debates about whether ethnic identities are ‘natural’ or ‘socially constructed’. Rather, ethnic identity takes different forms. Some ethnic boundaries are perceived by the actors themselves as natural, while others are perceived to be permeable. The argument is substantiated through a comparative analysis of ethnic identity formation and ethnic conflict among the Anywaa and the Nuer in the Gambella region of western Ethiopia. The Anywaa and the Nuer are not just two ethnic groups but two kinds of ethnic groups. Conflicts between the Anywaa and Nuer are explained with reference to three variables: varying modes of identity formation, competition over resources and differential incorporation into the state system.
Playing the Marginality Game
Identity Politics in West Africa
In Guinea, situated against the background of central government struggles, rural elites use identity politics through contemporary political reforms to maintain their privileges and perpetuate a generations-old local social contract that bridges ethnic and religious divides. Simultaneously, administrative reform and national unrest lead to the creative re-combination of sources of authority and practices of legitimate rule. Past periods of colonization, socialism and authoritarian regime are reflected in contemporary struggles to make sense of participatory democracy and the future of the embattled Guinean national state.
The Politics of Cultural Performance
Parkin, D., Caplan, L. & Fisher, H. (eds)
The line between what is regarded by people as "traditional" and "modern" is constantly being altered by new configurations of power. These essays examine the ways in which such changes are both communicated and created through cultural performances in diverse ethnographic settings. Examples are drawn from a wide range of forms and expressions: divinatory sequences, spirit possession rites, state ceremonials, village feasts, pilgrimages, language-use and craft specialisms. It was Abner Cohen, to whom this volume is dedicated, who first suggested that a dialectical relationship existed between power and symbolism. This concept, as developed in his seminal work, has since become a growing area of study as reflected in this important collection. By questioning some of the directions, the authors make a major interdisciplinary contribution to the study of cultural performance as a key factor in power relationships. The principal stage is Africa, but comparative ethnographic data are drawn from Ireland, Italy, South Asia, and the United Kingdom.
The Politics of Egalitarianism
Theory and Practice
Solway, J. (ed)
The essays assembled in this book exemplify the way political anthropologists address a range of problems that deeply affect people throughout the world. The authors draw their inspiration from the work of Canadian anthropologist Richard B. Lee, and, like him, they are concerned with understanding and acting upon issues of “indigenous rights”; the impact of colonialism, postcolonial state formation, and neoliberalism on local communities and cultures; the process of culture change; what the history and politics of egalitarian societies reveal about issues of “human nature” or “social evolution”; and how peoples in southern Africa are affected by and responding to the most recent crisis in their midst, the spread of AIDS. The authors in this volume discuss the state of a range of contemporary debates in the field that in various ways extend the political, theoretical, and empirical issues that have animated Lee's work. In addition, the book provides readers with important contemporary Kalahari studies, as well as “classic” works on foraging societies.
Subjects: Theory and Methodology Medical Anthropology
Politics of Innocence
Hutu Identity, Conflict and Camp Life
Based on thorough ethnographic fieldwork in a refugee camp in Tanzania this book provides a rich account of the benevolent “disciplining mechanisms” of humanitarian agencies, led by the UNHCR, and of the situated, dynamic, indeterminate, and fluid nature of identity (re)construction in the camp. While the refugees are expected to behave as innocent, helpless victims, the question of victimhood among Burundian Hutu is increasingly challenged, following the 1993 massacres in Burundi and the Rwandan genocide. The book explores how different groups within the camp apply different strategies to cope with these issues and how the question of innocence and victimhood is itself imbued with ambiguity, as young men struggle to recuperate their masculinity and their political subjectivity.
The Precarity of Masculinity
Football, Pentecostalism, and Transnational Aspirations in Cameroon
Despite little chance of success, many young men in Cameroon are determined to play football for a living. Many of these aspiring footballers gravitate towards Pentecostal Christian churches, although there are ample other social and spiritual resources available to them. This book follows young Cameroonian men who aspire to migrate abroad and play football for a living while also analyzing masculinities in West Africa. The author argues that the athletic aspirations of young Cameroonians and their propensity to consult with Pentecostal Men of God offer new insights about the nature of social mobility in the neoliberal age.
Preserving Order Amid Chaos
The Survival of Schools in Uganda, 1971-1986
To say that education in Africa is under stress is all to obvious. News reports from that continent seem to describe only war and violence, poverty and malnutrition, corruption and mismanagement, or natural disasters that destroy or threaten already frail infrastructures - most news from Africa is bad news. When an education system survives in a country like Uganda, long subjected to the whims of despotic leadership, it warrants an investigation. This book tells the story of four senior secondary schools during a time of war and intractable social conflict, examining a complex topic through multiple perspectives such as documentary history, oral history, ethnography, and organization theory. The author develops a broad picture of the Amin/Obote years and the accompanying political and social chaos in Uganda, while at the same time filling in the crucial details essential for developing an understanding of school survival in the Kaborole District.
The author's intensive field work gives this study a unique dimension: by preserving a record of African voices - students, teachers, parents, alumni, board members, community leaders - a rich tableau of theh local conditions for school survival emerges. At the same time the discussion is situated within the larger Ugandan historical and political context, thus offering an excellent example of the application of multiple research perspectives to a complex social, cultural and political setting.
Privileges of Birth
Constellations of Care, Myth, and Race in South Africa
Rogerson, J. J. M.
Focussing ethnographically on private-sector maternity care in South Africa, Privileges of Birth looks at the ways healthcare and childbirth are shaped by South Africa’s racialised history. Birth is one of the most medicalised aspects of the lifecycle across all sectors of society, and there is deep division between what the privileged can afford compared with the rest of the population. Examining the ethics of care in midwife-attended birth, the author situates the argument in the context of a growing literature on care in anthropological and feminist scholarship, offering a unique account of birthing care in the context of elite care services.
Subject: Medical Anthropology
The Problem of Money
African Agency & Western Medicine in Northern Ghana
Bierlich, B. M.
Based on long-term medical anthropological research in northern Ghana, the author analyses issues of health and healing, of gender, and of the control and use of money in a changing rural African setting. He describes the culture of medical pluralism, so typical for neo-colonial states, and people’s choices of “traditional” (local) medicine (plants and sacrifices), Islamic medicine (charms and various written solutions) and ”modern” therapy (biomedicine, in particular western pharmaceuticals). He concludes that the rural-urban divide is a fiction, that demarcations between these areas are frequently blurred, linked by a postcolonial, capitalist discourse of local markets, regional economies and national structures, which frequently emerge in local African settings but often originate in global and multinational markets.
Subjects: Medical Anthropology Development Studies
Policy and Practice in Business and Bureaucracy
Ardener, S. & Moore, F. (eds)
In both professional and academic fields, there is increasing interest in the way in which white-collar workers engage with institutions and networks which are complex social constructions. Covering a wide variety of countries and types of organization, this volume examines the diverse ways in which individuals’ ethnic, gender, corporate and professional identities interact. This book brings together fields often viewed in isolation: ethnographies of groups traditionally studied by anthropologists in new organisational contexts, and examinations of the role of identity in corporate life, opening up new perspectives on central areas of contemporary human activity. It will be of great interest to those concerned with practical management of institutions, as well as those of us who find ourselves working within them.
A Prophetic Trajectory
Ideologies of Place, Time and Belonging in an Angolan Religious Movement
Blanes, R. L.
Combining ethnographic and historical research conducted in Angola, Portugal, and the United Kingdom, A Prophetic Trajectory tells the story of Simão Toko, the founder and leader of one of the most important contemporary Angolan religious movements. The book explains the historical, ethnic, spiritual, and identity transformations observed within the movement, and debates the politics of remembrance and heritage left behind after Toko’s passing in 1984. Ultimately, it questions the categories of prophetism and charisma, as well as the intersections between mobility, memory, and belonging in the Atlantic Lusophone sphere.
Recalling the Belgian Congo
Conversations and Introspection
When the author embarked on her study, her aim was to approach former colonial officers with a view to analyzing processes of domination in the ex-Belgian Congo. However, after establishing a rapport with some of these officers, the author was soon forced to revise her initial assumptions, widely held in present-day Belgium: these officers were not the "baddies" she had expected to meet.
Exploring the colonial experience through the respondents' memories resulted in a far more complex picture of the colonial situation than she had anticipated, again forcing her to question her original assumptions. This resulted not only in a more differentiated perspective on Belgian colonialist rule, but is also sensitized her as regards the question of anthropological understanding and of what constitutes historical fact.
These two aspects of her work are reflected in this study that offers specific material on the way Belgian colonialism is remembered and reflects on its conditions of production, thus combining ethnographic analysis with a theoretical essay.
Subjects: Colonial History Anthropology (General) Sociology
Regimes of Responsibility in Africa
Genealogies, Rationalities and Conflicts
Rubbers, B. & Jedlowski, A. (eds)
Regimes of Responsibility in Africa analyses the transformations that discourses and practices of responsibility have undergone in Africa. By doing so, this collection develops a stronger grasp of the specific political, economic and social transformations taking place today in Africa. At the same time, while focusing on case studies from the African continent, the work enters into a dialogue with the emerging corpus of studies in the field of ethics, adding to it a set of analytical perspectives that can help further enlarge its theoretical and geographical scope.
Religion and Pride
Hindus in Search of Recognition in La Réunion
Seeking recognition presents an important driving force in the making of religious minorities, as is shown in this study that examines current debates on religion, globalization, diaspora, and secularism through the lens of Hindus living in the French overseas department of La Réunion. Through the examination of religious practices and public performance, the author offers a compelling study of how the Hindus of the island assert pride in their religion as a means of gaining recognition, self-esteem, and social status.
Rethinking and Unthinking Development
Perspectives on Inequality and Poverty in South Africa and Zimbabwe
Mpofu, B. & Ndlovu-Gatsheni, S. J. (eds)
Development has remained elusive in Africa. Through theoretical contributions and case studies focusing on Southern Africa’s former white settler states, South Africa and Zimbabwe, this volume responds to the current need to rethink (and unthink) development in the region. The authors explore how Africa can adapt Western development models suited to its political, economic, social and cultural circumstances, while rejecting development practices and discourses based on exploitative capitalist and colonial tendencies. Beyond the legacies of colonialism, the volume also explores other factors impacting development, including regional politics, corruption, poor policies on empowerment and indigenization, and socio-economic and cultural barriers.
Language, Life Force and History in Kilimanjaro
Myhre, K. C.
A group of Chagga-speaking men descend the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro to butcher animals and pour milk, beer, and blood on the ground, requesting rain for their continued existence. Returning Life explores how this event engages activities where life force is transferred and transformed to afford and affect beings of different kinds. Historical sources demonstrate how the phenomenon of life force encompasses coffee cash-cropping, Catholic Christianity, and colonial and post-colonial rule, and features in cognate languages from throughout the area. As this vivid ethnography explores how life projects through beings of different kinds, it brings to life concepts and practices that extend through time and space, transcending established analytics.
A Sad Fiasco
Colonial Concentration Camps in Southern Africa, 1900–1908
Only in recent years has the history of European colonial concentration camps in Africa—in which thousands of prisoners died in appalling conditions—become widely known beyond a handful of specialists. Although they preceded the Third Reich by many decades, the camps’ newfound notoriety has led many to ask to what extent they anticipated the horrors of the Holocaust. Were they designed for mass killing, a misbegotten attempt at modernization, or something else entirely? A Sad Fiasco confronts this difficult question head-on, reconstructing the actions of colonial officials in both British South Africa and German South-West Africa as well as the experiences of internees to explore both the similarities and the divergences between the African camps and their Nazi-era successors.
Science, Magic and Religion
The Ritual Processes of Museum Magic
Bouquet, M. & Porto, N. (eds)
For some time now, museums have been recognized as important institutions of western cultural and social life. The idea of the museum as a ritual site is fairly new and has been applied to the art museums in Europe and the United States so far. This volume expands it by exploring a range of contemporary museums in Europe and Africa. The case studies examine the different ways in which various actors involved in cultural production dramatize and ritualize such sites. It turns out that not only museum specialists, but visitors themselves are engaged in complex performances and experiences that make use of museums in often unexpected ways.
Seekers and Things
Spiritual Movements and Aesthetic Difference in Kinshasa
Focusing on the intricate presence of a Japanese new religion (Sekai Kyûseikyô) in the densely populated and primarily Christian environment of Kinshasa (DR Congo), this ethnographic study offers a practitioner-orientated perspective to create a localized picture of religious globalization. Guided by an aesthetic approach to religion, the study moves beyond a focus limited to text and offers insights into the role of religious objects, spiritual technologies and aesthetic repertoires in the production and politics of difference. The boundaries between non-Christian religious minorities and the largely Christian public sphere involve fears and suspicion of "magic" and "occult sciences".
Sex and Control
Venereal Disease, Colonial Physicians, and Indigenous Agency in German Colonialism, 1884-1914
Walther, D. J.
In responding to the perceived threat posed by venereal diseases in Germany’s colonies, doctors took a biopolitical approach that employed medical and bourgeois discourses of modernization, health, productivity, and morality. Their goal was to change the behavior of targeted groups, or at least to isolate infected individuals from the healthy population. However, the Africans, Pacific Islanders, and Asians they administered to were not passive recipients of these strategies. Rather, their behavior strongly influenced the efficacy and nature of these public health measures. While an apparent degree of compliance was achieved, over time physicians increasingly relied on disciplinary measures beyond what was possible in Germany in order to enforce their policies. Ultimately, through their discourses and actions they contributed to the justification for and the maintenance of German colonialism.
Subjects: Colonial History
Sex and the Empire That Is No More
Gender and the Politics of Metaphor in Oyo Yoruba Religion
Matory, J. L.
J. Lorand Matory researches the trans-Atlantic comings and goings of Yoruba religion, as well as ethnic diversity in Black North America. With the support of the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Spencer Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Education's Fulbright-Hays Fellowship, he has conducted extensive field research in Brazil, Nigeria, and the United States. Dr. Matory is also the author of Black Atlantic Religion: Tradition, Transnationalism and Matriarchy in the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé (Princeton University Press). He is currently researching a book on the history and experience of Nigerians, Trinidadians, Ethiopians, black Indians, Louisiana Creoles and other ethnic groups that make up black North American society. It focuses on the creative coexistence of these groups at the United States' leading "historically Black university"—Howard University
Social Im/mobilities in Africa
Noret, J. (ed)
Grounded in both theory and ethnography, this volume insists on taking social positionality seriously when accounting for Africa’s current age of polarizing wealth. To this end, the book advocates a multidimensional view of African societies, in which social positions consist of a variety of intersecting social powers - or ‘capitals’ – including wealth, education, social relationships, religion, ethnicity, and others. Accordingly, the notion of social im/mobilities emphasizes the complexities of current changes, taking us beyond the prism of a one-dimensional social ladder, for social moves cannot always be apprehended through the binaries of ‘gains’ and ‘losses’.
Subjects: Mobility Studies Anthropology (General) Sociology
The Case of Northern Uganda, 1986-2006
As Director of the Refugee Law Project at the University of Makerere, Kampala, Uganda, Dolan offers a behind-the-scenes, cross-disciplinary study of one of Africa's longest running and most intractable conflicts. This book shows how, alongside the activities of the Lord's Resistance Army, government decisions and actions on the ground, consolidated by humanitarian interventions and silences, played a central role in creating a massive yet only very belatedly recognized humanitarian crisis. Not only individuals, but society as a whole, came to exhibit symptoms typical of torture, and the perpetrator-victim dichotomy became blurred. It is such phenomena, and the complex of social, political, economic and cultural dynamics which underpin them, which the author describes as social torture. Building on political economy, social anthropology, discourse analysis, international relations and psychoanalytic approaches to violence, this book offers an important analytical instrument for all those seeking entry points through which to address entrenched conflicts, whether from a conflict resolution, post-conflict recovery or transitional justice perspective.
South Africa's Dreams
Ethnologists and Apartheid in Namibia
Gordon, R. J.
In the early sixties, South Africa’s colonial policies in Namibia served as a testing ground for many key features of its repressive ‘Grand Apartheid’ infrastructure, including strategies for countering anti-apartheid resistance. Exposing the role that anthropologists played, this book analyses how the knowledge used to justify and implement apartheid was created. Understanding these practices and the ways in which South Africa’s experiences in Namibia influenced later policy at home is also critically evaluated, as is the matter of adjudicating the many South African anthropologists who supported the regime.
Space, Place and Identity
Wodaabe of Niger in the 21st Century
Known as highly mobile cattle nomads, the Wodaabe in Niger are today increasingly engaged in a transformation process towards a more diversified livelihood based primarily on agro-pastoralism and urban work migration. This book examines recent transformations in spatial patterns, notably in the context of urban migration and in processes of sedentarization in rural proto-villages. The book analyses the consequences that the recent change entails for social group formation and collective identification, and how this impacts integration into wider society amid the structures of the modern nation state.
Spatial Boundaries and Social Dynamics
Case Studies from Food-Producing Societies
Holl, A. & Levey, T. E. (eds)
The papers in this volume examine the sociocultural, socioeconomic and environmental factors that condition spatial patterning of human behavior in food-producing (both agricultural and pastoral) societies. The spatially patterned material manifestations of that behavior are considered in the light of archaeological and ethnographical examples. Archaeological and ethnographic data sources are drawn primarily from Africa, as well as the ancient Near East.
Subjects: Archaeology Anthropology (General)
Spirits and Letters
Reading, Writing and Charisma in African Christianity
Kirsch, T. G.
Studies of religion have a tendency to conceptualise ‘the Spirit’ and ‘the Letter’ as mutually exclusive and intrinsically antagonistic. However, the history of religions abounds in cases where charismatic leaders deliberately refer to and make use of writings. This book challenges prevailing scholarly notions of the relationship between ‘charisma’ and ‘institution’ by analysing reading and writing practices in contemporary Christianity. Taking up the continuing anthropological interest in Pentecostal-charismatic Christianity, and representing the first book-length treatment of literacy practices among African Christians, this volume explores how church leaders in Zambia refer to the Bible and other religious literature, and how they organise a church bureaucracy in the Pentecostal-charismatic mode. Thus, by examining social processes and conflicts that revolve around the conjunction of Pentecostal-charismatic and literacy practices in Africa, Spirits and Letters reconsiders influential conceptual dichotomies in the social sciences and the humanities and is therefore of interest not only to anthropologists but also to scholars working in the fields of African studies, religious studies, and the sociology of religion.
The State and the Social
State Formation in Botswana and its Precolonial and Colonial Genealogies
Botswana has been portrayed as a major case of exception in Africa—as an oasis of peace and harmony with an enduring parliamentary democracy, blessed with remarkable diamond-driven economic growth. Whereas the “failure” of other states on the continent is often attributed to the prevalence of indigenous political ideas and structures, the author argues that Botswana’s apparent success is not the result of Western ideas and practices of government having replaced indigenous ideas and structures. Rather, the postcolonial state of Botswana is best understood as a unique, complex formation, one that arose dialectically through the meeting of European ideas and practices with the symbolism and hierarchies of authority, rooted in the cosmologies of indigenous polities, and both have become integral to the formation of a strong state with a stable government. Yet there are destabilizing potentialities in progress due to emerging class conflict between all the poor sections of the population and the privileged modern elites born of the expansion of a beef and diamond-driven political economy, in addition to conflicts between dominant Tswana and vast other ethnic groups. These transformations of the modern state are viewed from the long-term perspectives of precolonial and colonial genealogies and the rise of structures of domination, propelled by changing global forces.
Subject: Anthropology (General)
Biological and Social Perspectives on Alloparenting in Human Societies
Bentley, G. & Mace, R. (eds)
From a comparative perspective, human life histories are unique and raising offspring is unusually costly: humans have relatively short birth intervals compared to other apes, childhood is long, mothers care simultaneously for many dependent children (other apes raise one offspring at a time), infant mortality is high in natural fertility/mortality populations, and human females have a long post-reproductive lifespan. These features conspire to make child raising very burdensome. Mothers frequently defray these costs with paternal help (not usual in other ape species), although this contribution is not always enough. Grandmothers, elder siblings, paid allocarers, or society as a whole, help to defray the costs of childcare, both in our evolutionary past and now. Studying offspring care in a various human societies, and other mammalian species, a wide range of specialists such as anthropologists, psychologists, animal behaviorists, evolutionary ecologists, economists and sociologists, have contributed to this volume, offering new insights into and a better understanding of one of the key areas of human society.
Subjects: Sociology Anthropology (General)
Swedish Ventures in Cameroon, 1883-1923
Trade and Travel, People and Politics
Ardener, S. (ed)
The 1880s were a critical time in Cameroon. A German warship arrived in the Douala estuary and proclaimed Cameroon a protectorate. At that time, two Swedes, Knutson and Waldau, were living on the upper slopes of the Cameroon Mountain. Very little is known about their activities. One, Knutson, wrote a long memoir of his time in Cameroon (1883-1895) which is published here for the first time. It gives fascinating insights into everyday life in Cameroon and into the multifaceted relationships among the various Europeans, and between them and the Africans, at the end of the 19th century; we learn about the Swedes' quarrels first with the Germans and later with the British, over land purchases, thus revealing the origins of long on-going disputes over Bakweri lands. We are given vivid descriptions of Bakweri notables and their, and the Europeans', cultural practices, a rare eye-witness account of the sasswood witchcraft ordeal, and learn about Knutson's friendships with slaves. Together with appended contemporary correspondence, legal opinions, and early (translated) texts, this memoir must be considered as a unique and invaluable primary source for the pre-colonial history of Cameroon.
Things Fall Apart?
The Political Ecology of Forest Governance in Southern Nigeria
Hellermann, P. von
Governance failure and corruption are increasingly identified as key causes of tropical deforestation. In Nigeria’s Edo State, once the showcase of scientific forestry in West Africa, large-scale forest conversion and the virtual depletion of timber stocks are invariably attributed to recent failures in forest management, and are seen as yet another instance of how “things fall apart” in Nigeria. Through an in-depth historical and ethnographic study of forestry in Edo State, this book challenges this routine linking of political and ecological crisis narratives. It shows that the roots of many of today’s problems lie in scientific forest management itself, rather than its recent abandonment, and moreover that many “illegal” local practices improve rather than reduce biodiversity and forest cover. The book therefore challenges preconceptions about contemporary Nigeria and highlights the need to reevaluate current understandings of what constitutes “good governance” in tropical forestry.
How Somalis Cope with Refugee Life in the Dadaab Camps of Kenya
There is a tendency to consider all refugees as 'vulnerable victims': an attitude reinforced by the stream of images depicting refugees living in abject conditions.
This groundbreaking study of Somalis in a Kenyan refugee camp reveals the inadequacy of such assumptions by describing the rich personal and social histories that refugees bring with them to the camps. The author focuses on the ways in which Somalis are able to adapt their 'nomadic' heritage in order to cope with camp life; a heritage that includes a high degree of mobility and strong social networks that reach beyond the confines of the camp as far as the U.S. and Europe.
The Upper Guinea Coast in Global Perspective
Knörr, J. & Kohl, C. (eds)
For centuries, Africa’s Upper Guinea Coast region has been the site of regional and global interactions, with societies from different parts of the African continent and beyond engaging in economic trade, cultural exchange, and various forms of conflict. This book provides a wide-ranging look at how such encounters have continued into the present day, identifying the disruptions and continuities in religion, language, economics, and various other social phenomena that have resulted. These accounts show a region that, while still grappling with the legacies of colonialism and the slave trade, is both shaped by and an important actor within ever-denser global networks, exhibiting consistent transformation and creative adaptation.
Transformations of Family Life in Burkina Faso
de Jong, W., Perlik, M., Steuer, N., & Znoj, H. (eds)
Claudia Roth's work on Bobo-Dioulasso, a city of half a million residents in Burkina Faso, provides uniquely detailed insight into the evolving life-world of a West African urban population in one of the poorest countries in the world. Closely documenting the livelihood strategies of members of various neighbourhoods, Roth’s work calls into question established notions of “the African family” as a solidary network, documents changing marriage and kinship relations under the impact of a persistent economic crisis, and explores the increasingly precarious social status of young women and men.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Sociology Urban Studies
State Formation, Sociality, and Power in Mozambique
Bertelsen, B. E.
Violent Becomings conceptualizes the Mozambican state not as the bureaucratically ordered polity of the nation-state, but as a continuously emergent and violently challenged mode of ordering. In doing so, this book addresses the question of why colonial and postcolonial state formation has involved violent articulations with so-called ‘traditional’ forms of sociality. The scope and dynamic nature of such violent becomings is explored through an array of contexts that include colonial regimes of forced labor and pacification, liberation war struggles and civil war, the social engineering of the post-independence state, and the popular appropriation of sovereign violence in riots and lynchings.
Water, Life, and Profit
Fluid Economies and Cultures of Niamey, Niger
Keough, S. B. & Youngstedt, S. M
Water, Life, and Profit offers a holistic analysis of the people, economies, cultural symbolism, and material culture involved in the management, production, distribution, and consumption of drinking water in the urban context of Niamey, Niger. Paying particular attention to two key groups of people who provide water to most of Niamey’s residents - door-to-door water vendors, and those who sell water in one-half-liter plastic bags (sachets) on the street or in small shops – the authors offer new insights into how Niamey’s water economies affect gender, ethnicity, class, and spatial structure today.
We Come as Members of the Superior Race
Distortions and Education Policy Discourse in Sub-Saharan Africa
Westerners have long represented Africans as “backwards,” “primitive,” and “unintelligent,” distortions which have opened the door for American philanthropies to push their own education agendas in Africa. We Come as Members of the Superior Race discusses the origin and history of these dangerous stereotypes and western “infantilization” of African societies, exploring how their legacy continues to inform contemporary educational and development discourses. By viewing African societies as subordinated in a global geopolitical order, these problematic stereotypes continue to influence education policy and research in Sub-Sahara Africa today.
Subject: Educational Studies Sociology
Whatever Happened to Asylum in Britain?
A Tale of Two Walls
Refugees and asylum-seekers are high up on many people's political agenda. Even so, there is a remarkable lack of information. Who are these asylum-seekers? Aren't they almost all "bogus"? How do western immigration authorities decide whether or not they are genuine? Is the UN convention on Refugees out of date and in need of renegotiation?
This book brings insider knowledge to the study of asylum in Britain today. It is based on visits to places where asylum seekers are detained, on working with lawyers representing asylum-seekers and on a close knowledge of many of the refugee organisations. It argues passionately that Britain shall not throw away, through ignorance and misunderstanding, a reputation for providing a place of safety for the persecuted, and the chance of welcoming people who have much to contribute to national life and culture.
The Wheel of Autonomy
Rhetoric and Ethnicity in the Omo Valley
How do the Kara, a small population residing on the eastern bank of the Omo River in southern Ethiopia, manage to be neither annexed nor exterminated by any of the larger groups that surround them? Through the theoretical lens of rhetoric, this book offers an interactionalist analysis of how the Kara negotiate ethnic and non-ethnic differences among themselves, the relations with their various neighbors, and eventually their integration in the Ethiopian state. The model of the “Wheel of Autonomy” captures the interplay of distinction, agency and autonomy that drives these dynamics and offers an innovative perspective on social relations.
When They Came for Me
The Hidden Diary of an Apartheid Prisoner
Schlapobersky, J. R.
In 1969, while a student in South Africa, John Schlapobersky was arrested for opposing apartheid and tortured, detained and eventually deported. Interrogated through sleep deprivation, he later wrote secretly in solitary confinement about the struggle for survival. In this exquisitely written memoir, the author reflects on the singing of the condemned prisoners, the poetry, songs and texts that saw him through his ordeal, and its impact. This sense of hope through which he transformed his life guides his continuing work as a psychotherapist and his focus on the rehabilitation of others. Apartheid and its resistance come to life in this story to make it a vital historical document, one of its time and one for our own.
Subjects: History: 20th Century to Present
Where Humans and Spirits Meet
The Politics of Rituals and Identified Spirits in Zanzibar
Zanzibar, an island off the East African coast, with its Muslim and Swahili population, offers rich material for this study of identity, religion, and multiculturalism. This book focuses on the phenomenon of spirit possession in Zanzibar Town and the relationships created between humans and spirits; it provides a way to apprehend how society is constituted and conceived and, thus, discusses Zanzibari understandings of what it means to be human.
Who Knows Tomorrow?
Uncertainty in North-Eastern Sudan
Although uncertainty is intertwined with all human activity, plans, and aspirations, it is experienced differently: at times it is obsessed over and at times it is ignored. This ethnography shows how Rashaida in north-eastern Sudan deal with unknowns from day-to-day unpredictability to life-threatening dangers. It argues that the amplification of uncertainty in some cases and its extenuation in others can be better understood by focusing on forms that can either hold the world together or invite doubt. Uncertainty, then, need not be seen solely as a debilitating problem, but also as an opportunity to create other futures.
Subjects: Anthropology (General) Development Studies
Who Owns the Stock?
Collective and Multiple Property Rights in Animals
Khazanov, A. M. & Schlee, G. (eds)
The issue of collective and multiple property rights in animals, such as cattle, camels or reindeers, among pastoralists has never been a subject of special cross-cultural and comparative study. Focusing on pastoralist societies in East and West Africa, the Far North and Siberia, and the Eurasian steppes, this volume addresses the issue of property rights and the changes these societies have undergone due to the direct or indirect influence of modernization and globalization processes. The contributors also investigate the interplay of older sets of rights and modern marketing policies; political, ecological and economic effects of collectivization and de-collectivization; the existence of collective and private property in the Soviet Union and its successor states; state taxation and destocking measures in African dry lands; and the effects of quarantine, as well as import and export regulations. The rich and well-researched ethnographic, historical, and economic data in these chapters provides new theoretical insights into the matter of property rights in animals.
Witchcraft, Witches, and Violence in Ghana
Witchcraft violence is a feature of many contemporary African societies. In Ghana, belief in witchcraft and the malignant activities of putative witches is prevalent. Purported witches are blamed for all manner of adversities including inexplicable illnesses and untimely deaths. As in other historical periods and other societies, in contemporary Ghana, alleged witches are typically female, elderly, poor, and marginalized. Childhood socialization in homes and schools, exposure to mass media, and other institutional mechanisms ensure that witchcraft beliefs are transmitted across generations and entrenched over time. This book provides a detailed account of Ghanaian witchcraft beliefs and practices and their role in fueling violent attacks on alleged witches by aggrieved individuals and vigilante groups.
Working with Spirit
Experiencing Izangoma Healing in Contemporary South Africa
Wreford, J. T.
In the current model of health dispensation in South Africa there are two major paradigms, the spirit-inspired tradition of izangoma sinyanga and biomedicine. These operate at best in parallel, but more often than not are at odds with one another. This book, based on the author’s personal experience as a practitioner of traditional African medicine, considers the effects of the absence of spirit in biomedicine on collaborative relationships. Given the unprecedented challenge of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the country, the author suggests that more cooperation is vital. Taking a critical look at the role of anthropology in this endeavor, she proposes the development of a “language of spirit” by means of which the spirit-inspired aetiology of izangoma sinyanga may be made comprehensible to academic scientists and applicable to medical interventions. The author discusses white izangoma in the context of current debates on healing and hybridity and insists that there exists a powerful role for izangoma in the realm of societal healing. Above all, the book constitutes a start in what the author hopes will develop into an ongoing intellectual conversation between traditional African healing, academe, and biomedicine in South Africa.
Subjects: Medical Anthropology Anthropology of Religion
Youth Gangs and Street Children
Culture, Nurture and Masculinity in Ethiopia
The rapidly expanding population of youth gangs and street children is one of the most disturbing issues in many cities around the world. These children are perceived to be in a constant state of destitution, violence and vagrancy, and therefore must be a serious threat to society, needing heavy-handed intervention and ‘tough love’ from concerned adults to impose societal norms on them and turn them into responsible citizens. However, such norms are far from the lived reality of these children. The situation is further complicated by gender-based violence and masculinist ideologies found in the wider Ethiopian culture, which influence the proliferation of youth gangs. By focusing on gender as the defining element of these children’s lives — as they describe it in their own words — this book offers a clear analysis of how the unequal and antagonistic gender relations that are tolerated and normalized by everyday school and family structures shape their lives at home and on the street.
Zimbabwe's New Diaspora
Displacement and the Cultural Politics of Survival
McGregor, J. & Primorac, R. (eds)
Zimbabwe’s crisis since 2000 has produced a dramatic global scattering of people. This volume investigates this enforced dispersal, and the processes shaping the emergence of a new "diaspora" of Zimbabweans abroad, focusing on the most important concentrations in South Africa and in Britain. Not only is this the first book on the diasporic connections created through Zimbabwe’s multifaceted crisis, but it also offers an innovative combination of research on the political, economic, cultural and legal dimensions of movement across borders and survival thereafter with a discussion of shifting identities and cultural change. It highlights the ways in which new movements are connected to older flows, and how displacements across physical borders are intimately linked to the reworking of conceptual borders in both sending and receiving states. The book is essential reading for researchers/students in migration, diaspora and postcolonial literary studies.