- Title: Researching Power and Identity in African State Formation – Comparative Perspectives
- Author/s: M. Doornbos & W. van Binsbergen
- Publisher: Unisa Press
- Country of Origin: South Africa
- Publication Year: 2018
- ISBN: 9781868886579
- Bib. Info: Paperback; 544pp
The book illuminates key aspects of how, historically, the dynamics of power and identity interact in the African context, generating the kind of political structures and collective actions that have often appeared characteristic for the continent. It examines some salient dimensions of the broader frameworks of hegemony and power imposed upon African societies in the context of larger geopolitical and historical processes. Power and identity are two key concepts which can be applied in describing African realities. The interaction and connections between the two concepts are, moreover, of key importance in the African context, as their studies demonstrate.
In common with other scholars in this area of study, the authors acknowledge that underlying their work is a compelling fascination with the continent’s evolving social and cultural forms. Their insight into African social reality reflects a fragile and fragmented continent capable of bringing forth a great variety of agents and actors in the interplay of social and political power: power vested in a variety of groups, ethnicities, religions or classes, with potential to impose on the identity of others.
About the authors
Martin Doornbos (PhD, University of California, Berkeley) is Emeritus Professor of Political Science at the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, The Netherlands, and Visiting Professor of Development Studies, Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Uganda. His research interests have broadly focused on the dynamics of state-society relations in Africa and India, on the institutional dimensions of conflict and collaboration, the politics of resource allocation, and on questions of state collapse and post-conflict reconstruction.
Wim van Binsbergen is an anthropologist, presently working on the theory and method of research on cultural globalisation, especially in connection with virtuality, Information and Communication Technology, ethnicity and religion. His project on ‘Africa’s Contribution to Global Systems of Knowledge: An Epistemology for African Studies in the Twenty-First Century’, provides a link between his research at the ASC and his chair in Foundations of Intercultural Philosophy at Erasmus University, Rotterdam.