By Patrick Chabal
During this e-book, Patrick Chabal discusses the constraints of latest political theories of Africa and proposes a special start line; arguing that political considering should be pushed via the necessity to deal with the immediacy of way of life and death. How do humans outline who they are? the place do they belong? What do they believe? How do they fight to outlive and increase their lives? what's the impression of disease and poverty? In doing so, Chabal proposes a extensively diversified approach of politics in Africa and illuminates the methods usual humans "suffer and smile." this can be a hugely unique addition to Zed's groundbreaking worldwide Political Theories sequence.
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Extra resources for Africa: The Politics of Suffering and Smiling (World Political Theories)
I make no pretence here to use these concepts in classical anthropological fashion. Even less do I claim to give account of the anthropological material that is relevant to the discussion. My interest is not in definition as such but in the unpacking of the discourses underlying these generally agreed notions and in the assessment of their relevance to acutely political questions in contemporary Africa. What matters more is how the people concerned consider these three aspects of their lives and why they think they matter for politics.
I would like at this stage to delve into the question of how people identify themselves and live together in society, how they evolve within the group of people into which they are born and which stands at the centre of their social life. This is important in itself if we are to understand the nature of the relationship between individual and society, and thereby the political context within which people live. But it is also important because it needs to serve as a warning against the simplifications of Western political theories that are based on the primacy of the acontextualised individual, with no regard to how the very concept of individual is problematic and simply cannot be taken for granted.
We live in a world where, for instance, we do not often ponder the definition of the individual or spiritual foundations of existence. We study politics as though we could take for granted what it is about and how it works. This may well be convenient in the day-to-day business of explaining what our politicians are doing in our own countries, but it is limiting when we try to understand what is happening in settings very different from our own. It is indeed this very unreflective attitude that has led us to explain politics in Africa in terms that are all too often simplistic.
Africa: The Politics of Suffering and Smiling (World Political Theories) by Patrick Chabal