Strength beyond Structure

Social and Historical Trajectories of Agency in Africa

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This book explores the notion of agency in a range of empirical situations in Africa. Agency directs our quest for an understanding of the dynamics and social transformations of African situations to the domains of creativity, inventiveness and reflexivity. It emphasizes the possibilities individuals and social groups perceive when faced with the constraints that tend to mark African social life. The case studies provide an alternative view of people and society in Africa by looking at the ways social strength is created in the hope of overcoming many of the structural limitations encountered in daily life. 'Strength beyond Structure' challenges the optimism that is engrained in the development rhetoric about Africa by making agency the subject of empirical scrutiny.

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Mirjam de Bruijn, Ph.D. (1995) Utrecht University, is an Anthropologist at the African Studies Centre in Leiden. Her work on nomadism, children and youth, mobility, (in)security, poverty, and social and economic in- and exclusion has an interdisciplinary character. She has done extensive fieldwork in Chad and Mali.
Rijk van Dijk, Ph.D. (1992) Utrecht University, is an anthropologist at the African Studies Centre where he researches the rise of new religious movements in Africa, particularly Pentecostalism, in relation to globalization, transnational connections and youth. He has published widely on the emergence of Pentecostal movements in Malawi, Ghana and, more recently, Botswana.
Jan-Bart Gewald, Ph.D. (1996) University of Leiden, is a historian at the African Studies Centre, Leiden. He has published extensively on aspects of African history and is currently focusing on the history of the relationship between people and technology in Africa.
Social and Historical Trajectories of Agency in Africa: An Introduction
Rijk van Dijk, Mirjam de Bruijn & Jan-Bart Gewald

Manchester as the Birth Place of Modern Agency Research: The Manchester School Explained from the Perspective of Evans-Pritchard’s Book The Nuer
Wim van Binsbergen

Dreams and Agency during Angola’s War of Independence
Inge Brinkman

Chief Hosea Kutako: A Herero Royal and Namibian Nationalist’s Life against Confinement 1870–1970
Jan-Bart Gewald

Agency in Kapsiki Religion: A Comparative Approach
Wouter van Beek

Les Enveloppes pour Papa Daniel: La Transformation des Relations Domestiques dans les Ménages des Congolais de la Diaspora
Julie Ndaya

From Individual Act to Social Agency in San Trance Rituals
Thomas Widlok

The Dynamics of Families, their Work and Provisioning Strategies in the Changing Economies in the Urban Townships of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Otrude N. Moyo

Images of Africa: Agency and Nature Conservation in South Africa
Malcolm Draper, Marja Spierenburg & Harry Wels

Solitary Births in Téra, Niger: A Local Quest for Safety
Gertie Janssen

Agency in and from the Margins: Street Children and Youth in N’djaména, Chad
Mirjam de Bruijn

Negotiating the Memory of Fulbe Hierarchy among Mobile Elite Women
Lotte Pelckmans

The Safe and Suffering Body in Transnational Ghanaian Pentecostalism; Towards an Anthropology of Vulnerable Agency
Rijk van Dijk
All those interested in social anthropology, African Studies, anthropology of development, social history, social geography; for researchers as well as students in these disciplines. The book may also be of interest to people working in the fields of development and policy with regard to Africa.