Framing African Development

Challenging Concepts


This book discusses and challenges concepts that are widely used in research and policy related to development issues in Africa. The main rationale for such an undertaking is that the concepts that are used to understand and define the world in general and Africa in particular are not merely describing social, economic and political processes and events; they are also largely framing these very same processes. Thus, the concepts by which we structure the world will implicitly or explicitly give premises for policies and practices; limiting or favouring certain types of actions and frameworks of interpretation and understanding in various contexts. It is therefore important to challenge commonly held conceptions about framing African development. Contributors include: Deborah Fahy Bryceson, Rosalind Eyben, Amanda Hammar, Kjell Havnevik, Mats Hårsmar, Terje Oestigaard and Rune Skarstein
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Biographical Note

Kjell Havnevik, Ph.D, University of Bradford, UK (1988), is Senior Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden, and Professor at the University of Agder, Norway. His experience of four decades of research, academic supervision, education and advisory work was primarily gained in Norwegian, Swedish and Tanzanian universities and research institutes. Terje Oestigaard Dr. art, (2004), is a Senior Researcher and the cluster leader of the ‘Rural and Agrarian Change, Property and Resources’ cluster at the Nordic Africa Institute (Uppsala), and docent in archaeology at Uppsala University. Eva Tobisson, Ph.D. in social anthropology, Göteborg University (1986), participated as editor of this book on a secondment as researcher to the Nordic Africa Institute (Uppsala), from her permanent position as Senior Adviser (development policy) at Sweden’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs. She was Director of the Development Studies Unit, Department of Social Anthropology, Stockholm University, in 1993-1999. Tea Virtanen, Ph.D. in cultural anthropology, University of Helsinki (2003), is currently a Finnish Academy research fellow at the University of Helsinki, Finland. She was an Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at the University of Joensuu, Finland, in 2002–2005, and held the Finnish research position at the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden, in 2010−2013.

Table of contents

Acknowledgement List of Contributors Chapter 1: Framing African Development – Challenging Concepts Kjell Havnevik Chapter 2: Developing the ‘Other’: Perceptions of Africans and change Terje Oestigaard Chapter 3: Misconceptions and poor understanding – The debate on poverty Mats Hårsmar Chapter 4: Debating Empowerment: A case study of knowledge practices in the Development Assistance Committee Rosalind Eyben Chapter 5: Beyond Livelihoods: Occupationality and career formation in African artisanal mining Deborah Fahy Bryceson Chapter 6: The Concept and Paradoxes of Displacement Amanda Hammar Chapter 7: Primitive Accumulation: Concept, similarities and varieties Rune Skarstein Chapter 8. From Food Security to Food Sovereignty? Kjell Havnevik Index


This book is highly relevant for policy makers and planners, NGOs, and students and academics in development studies with a particular interest in Africa.