Civil Society and the Political Imagination in Africa
In a substantial introduction, anthropologists Jean and John Comaroff offer a critical theoretical analysis of the nature and deployment of the concept—and the current debates surrounding it. Building on this framework, the contributors investigate the "problem" of civil society across their regions of expertise, which cover the continent. Drawing creatively on one another's work, they examine the impact of colonial ideology, postcoloniality, and development practice on discourses of civility, the workings of everyday politics, the construction of new modes of selfhood, and the pursuit of moral community.
Incisive and original, the book shows how struggles over civil society in Africa reveal much about larger historical forces in the post-Cold War era. It also makes a strong case for the contribution of historical anthropology to contemporary discourses on the rise of a "new world order."
John L. and Jean Comaroff
2. Practicing Citizenship in Imperial Paris
3. Developing Bushmen: Building Civil(ized) Society in the Kalahari and Beyond
4. Civil Society and Its Presuppositions: Lessons from Uganda
5. Colonial Constructions- Historicizing Debates on Civil Society in Africa
William Cunningham Bissell
6. Stating Politisi: The Dialogues of Publicity and Secrecy in Sierra Leone
7. Civil Lives: Leadership and Accomplishment in Botswana
8. Debating Muslims, Disputed Practices: Struggles for the Realization of an Alternative Moral Order in Niger
9. Curl Up and Dye: Civil Society and the Fashion-Minded Citizen
10. IBB= 419: Nigerian Democracy and the Politics of Illusion
List of Contributors