Rights and the Politics of Recognition in Africa

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Zed Books, Sep 18, 2004 - Political Science - 283 pages
This timely volume shows that, despite the global spread of a homogeneous neoliberal economic ideology, the need remains to understand variations in cultural values and political institutions. All over the world, people are claiming their rights. But are these claims prompted by similar values and aspirations? And even if human rights are universal, what are the consequences of claiming them in different historical, cultural and material realities? How do Western notions such as liberal individualism suit very different traditions that value sociability, negotiation and conviviality?These questions are addressed in a wide variety of African countries whose very diversity compels careful thought about the meaning of such apparently universal values as democracy and rights. What are the consequences of introducing liberal institutions to African realities? How do Africans' ways of claiming rights challenge dominant Euro-American-inspired ideas and institutions?Problems of xenophobia, land tenure, women's rights, nationalism, multi-partyism, minority rights, and cultural and ethnic 'authenticity' are among the volume's central themes. By laying bare some of the inadequacies of liberal individualism in highly plural societies, these detailed studies provide innovative critiques of such taken-for-granted concepts as civil society, democracy, citizenship and human rights, and unsettle dominant Euro-American paradigms.
 

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Contents

recognizing identities imagining alternatives
1
Beyond liberalism? I 4 Differenceblind rights and the communit
23
Reconciling the rhetoric of rights with competing notions
33
On the rhetoric of rights I 33 Lessons from Africa on the reality
53
individualization
64
Human rights and the legal expansion of political space I
74
contradictions
84
reflections on Ugandan
103
managing
148
It will rain until we are in power Floods elections
169
part In Elites and Communities
195
language religion and identity in poly
219
the 1994 forest law
237
the new dialogue with postliberalism
261
Permeable ethnicities and elites I 266 The global and the post
270
Copyright

problems of recognition in contemporary
127

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About the author (2004)

Harri Englund is Director of the Research Project "Translating Human Rights in Africa," funded by the Academy of Finland, affiliated with the Institute for Asian and African Studies, University of Helsinki.

Francis B. Nyamnjoh is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Botswana.

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