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Transforming Innovations in Africa

Explorative Studies on Appropriation in African Societies

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Edited by Jan-Bart Gewald, André Leliveld and Iva Peša

Africa abounds with examples of material and immaterial innovations that were envisaged, developed and designed elsewhere yet came to be innovatively and sometimes unexpectedly transformed in Africa. The authors in this volume explore how external innovations (products, technologies, services, institutions and processes) have been appropriated in African societies in order to be acceptable and relevant to local conditions, expectations and demands. Written from different disciplinary perspectives, the chapters demonstrate the depth and richness of innovation in Africa with, in some cases, surprising outcomes. The case studies presented are on subjects as diverse as the wine industry, trading stores, land reforms, washing powder, M-Pesa, cassava, weddings, international borders, guest houses, urban water supply, car technology, shallow wells, and railways and blacksmithing.

Edited by Terry Barringer and Marion Wallace

African Studies in the Digital Age. DisConnects? seeks to understand the complex changes brought about by the digital revolution. The editors, Terry Barringer and Marion Wallace, have brought together librarians, archivists, researchers and academics from three continents to analyse the creation and use of digital research resources and archives in and about Africa. The volume reveals new opportunities for research, teaching and access, as well as potential problems and digital divides. Published under the aegis of SCOLMA (the UK Libraries and Archives Group on Africa), this new work is a major step forward in understanding the impact of the Internet Age for the study of Africa, in and beyond the continent.


Contributors are: Terry Barringer, Hartmut Bergenthum, Natalie Bond, Mirjam de Bruijn, Ian Cooke, Jos Damen, Jonathan Harle, Diana Jeater, Rebecca Kahn, Peter Limb, Lucia Lovison-Golob, Walter Gam Nkwi, Jenni Orme, Daniel A. Reboussin, Ashley Rockenbach, Amidu Sanni, Simon Tanner, Edgar C. Taylor, Laurie N. Taylor, Marion Wallace, Massimo Zaccaria

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Abbas Gnamo

This work examines the philosophical origins of Oromo egalitarian and democratic thoughts and practice, the Gadaa-Qaalluu system, kinship organization, the introduction and spread of Islam and the consequent socio-cultural change. It sheds light on the advent of the Ethiopian empire under Menelik II, its conquests and Arsi Oromo fierce resistance (1880-1900), the nature and legacy of Ethiopian imperial polity, centre-periphery relations, feudal political economy and its impacts on the newly conquered regions with a focus on Arsi Oromo country. The book also analyzes the root causes of the national political crisis including, but not limited to, the attempts at transforming the empire-state to a nation-state around a single culture, contested definition of national identity and state legitimacy, grievance narratives, uprisings, the birth and development of competing nationalisms as well as the limitations of the current ethnic federalism to address the national question in Ethiopia.

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Edited by Aqueil Ahmad

The contributors to this volume present a broad canvas of science and technology policies as instruments of social and economic development, record the progress that has been made, and identify and analyze the problems that remain to be solved.

Contributors are Aqueil Ahmad, Charles H. Davies, Thomas Owen Eisemon, John W. Forje, Jacques Gaillard, Eric L. Hyman, John E. Udo Ndebbio, Fola Osotimehin, Aaron Segal, Scott Tiffin, Paul B. Vitta, and Roland Waast.

COSATU'S Contested Legacy

South African Trade Unions in the Second Decade of Democracy

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Edited by Sakhela Buhlungu and Malehoko Tshoaedi

COSATU's Contested Legacy provides a fresh and up-to-date analysis of trade unionism in contemporary South Africa by focusing on the Congress of South African Trade Unions, the largest and most powerful federation. Drawing on quantitative data from four time series surveys of union members over a period of sixteen years, the authors present rigorous and authoritative analyses that shed light on the dilemmas and opportunities facing trade unionism today. The volume shows how various sections of the trade union movement grapple with these dilemmas and contest with one another to chart a future trajectory for trade unionism.

States at Work

Dynamics of African Bureaucracies

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Edited by Thomas Bierschenk and Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan

States at Work explores the mundane practices of state-making in Africa by focussing on the daily functioning of public services and the practices of civil servants. Adopting mainly an ethnographic approach as a basis for theorizing, the authors deal with topics including: bureaucratic cultures and practical norms, operational routines in offices, career patterns and modes of appointment; how bureaucrats themselves perceive and deliver goods and services and interact with service users; the accumulation of public administration reforms and how the different bureaucratic corps react to the ‘good governance’ discourse and new public management policies; the consequences of these reforms for the daily working of state bureaucracies and for the civil servants’ identities and modes of accountability; and the space that exists for bottom-up micro-reforms that build on local innovations or informal arrangements.

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Edited by Abebe Zegeye and William V. Harris

The essays in this collection reveal that the social and political development of post-apartheid South Africa depends to an important degree on the evolving cultural, social and political identities of its diverse population and on the role of the media of mass communications in the country's new multicultural democracy. The popular struggle against the country's former apartheid regime and the on-going democratisation of South African politics have generated enormous creativity and inspiration as well as many contradictions and unfulfilled expectations. In the present period of social transformation, the legacy of the country's past is both a source of continuing conflict and tension as well as a cause for celebration and hope.
Post-apartheid South Africa provides an important case study of social transformation and how the cultural, social and political identities of a diverse population and the structure and practices of the media of mass communications affect the prospects for developing a multicultural democracy. The promise and the challenge of building a multicultural democratic society in a country with a racist and violent authoritarian legacy involves people with different identities and interests learning how to respect their differences and to live together in peace. It involves developing an inclusive or overarching common identity and a commitment to working together for a common destiny based on social equity and justice.
South Africa's media of mass communications have an important role to play in the process of unprecedented social transformation - both in developing the respect for differences and the overarching identity as well as providing the public forum and the channels of communication needed for the successful development of the country's multicultural democracy. In South Africa, the democratization of the media must go hand in hand with the democratization of the political system in order to ensure that the majority of the citizenry participate effectively in the country's multicultural democracy. Topics covered include The "Struggle for African Identity: Thabo Mbeki's African Renaissance", "Between the Local and the Global: South African Languages and the Internet", "Shooting the East/Veils and Masks: Uncovering Orientalism in South African Media" and "Black and White in Ink: Discourses of Resistance in South African Cartooning".

Contributors are Pal Ahluwalia, Gabeba Baderoon, Richard L. Harris, Sean Jacobs, Elizabeth Le Roux, Andy Mason, Thembisa Mjwacu, Herman Wasserman, and Abebe Zegeye.

Nearly Native, Barely Civilized

Henri Gaden’s Journey through Colonial French West Africa (1894-1939)

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Roy Dilley

Nearly Native, Barely Civilized by Roy Dilley offers the first full-length biography of Henri Gaden, an exceptional French colonial character who lived through some of the most radical transformations in West African history. It provides an in-depth, intimate and rounded portrayal of the man, his place in history, and the contradictions, tensions and ambiguities not only in his personal and professional life but also at the heart of the colonial enterprise.

Soldier, ethnographer and linguist, lover, father, administrator and Governor, Henri Gaden (1867-1939) lived for 45 years in West Africa. Faced with the chaos, insecurity and insanity of colonial existence, Gaden experienced a rich mosaic of human pain and passion, of curiosity and intellectual endeavour, of folly and failure.