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The Spirits of Neoliberal Reforms and Everyday Politics of the State in Africa

Béatrice Hibou, Boris Samuel & Laurent Fourchard (Eds.)

The Spirits of Neoliberal Reforms and Everyday Politics of the State in Africa

This book, composed of articles first published in the journal Politique africaine, proposes an original interpretation of neoliberalism in Africa. Instead of seeing neoliberal reforms as intrinsically destructive of the post-colonial state, the authors, who include some of Africa’s best-known social scientists, focus on the resilience and adaptability of African state structures, economic systems, and social survival mechanisms and examine the diversity of responses to neoliberalism in what the editors call the “everyday politics of the state.” In essays that range from diverse theoretical or historical discussions to close studies of the dynamics of specific reforms in particular places, they argue against univocal interpretations of the effects of neoliberalism. They show that the African state, far from disappearing, is adapting and reconfiguring itself in fascinating new social realities “co-constructed” by state action as well as by the improvisations of communities and other private actors.

These fascinating studies reveal processes far more complex and ambivalent than what entrenched ideas of the distinction between “public” and “private” actors or between the “state”, the “market” and “society” allow for. Whether discussing neoliberal theories of sovereignty and property in the context of centuries of African political development or revealing the intricacies of people’s adjustments to the restructuring of an urban transport system, these essays show that conventional readings of governance in Africa underestimate the dynamics of reappropriation and adaptation and the conflicts between differing conceptions of power that are profoundly reshaping the state in contemporary Africa.

Author Details

Contributors:  Amin Allal • Sidy Cissokho • Jeroen Cuvelier • Mamadou Diouf • Laurent Fourchard • Pierre Englebert • Béatrice Hibou • Achille Mbembe • Philémon Muamba Mumbunda • Boris Samuel • Lamia Zaki

9782359260670 PB

9782359260687 Ebook

229 mm x 152 mm, 208pp, 2017

Price: $40 • £30 • €35 • CFA15000

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Last edited: 29 05 2017