Capital Cities in Africa: Power and Powerlessness

Overview

Focusing on capital cities in nine sub-Saharan African countries, this volume traces how the power vested in them has evolved through different colonial backgrounds, radically different kinds of regimes after independence, waves of popular protest, explosive population growth, and, in most cases, stunted economic development. Starting at the point of national political emancipation, each case study explores the complicated processes of nation–state building through its manifestation in the “urban geology” of the ...

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Overview

Focusing on capital cities in nine sub-Saharan African countries, this volume traces how the power vested in them has evolved through different colonial backgrounds, radically different kinds of regimes after independence, waves of popular protest, explosive population growth, and, in most cases, stunted economic development. Starting at the point of national political emancipation, each case study explores the complicated processes of nation–state building through its manifestation in the “urban geology” of the city—its architecture, iconography, layout, and political use of urban space. Overwhelmed by the inevitable challenges resulting from their urbanization, the governments seated in most of these capital cities are in effect both powerful—wielding power over their populace—and powerless, unable to implement their plans and provide for their inhabitants. Exploring this dichotomy as well as urban forms of multilayered power, this analysis carves a new path in the rich field of studies related to African cities and politics.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[This book] constitutes an important contribution to the burgeoning literature on African cities and urbanization."  —AbdouMaliq Simone, urbanist and professor of sociology, Goldsmith's College, University of London

"With chapters by some of the most observant contemporary scholars, this volume provides a window on the rapidly changing African scene of the early 21st century."  —Bill Freund, professor emeritus, economic history and development studies program, University of KwaZulu-Natal

"By using a series of carefully selected case studies, this interdisciplinary work elegantly combines Anglophone and Francophone expertise found both on as well as beyond the African continent. It is essential reading for those seeking a better understanding of postcolonial capital cities in Africa, their inherited social structures, their historical trajectories, and the political roles they play."  —Catherine Coquery–Vidrovitch, professor emeritus, Paris Diderot University, and recipient, Distinguished Africanist Award

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780796923509
  • Publisher: Human Sciences Research Council
  • Publication date: 4/1/2012
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Simon Bekker is the coeditor of Reflections on Identity in Four African Cities. He is a professor emeritus in sociology at the University of Stellenbosch, a former professor of development studies at Rhodes University, and the former director of the Center for Social and Development Studies at the University of Natal. Göran Therborn is a sociologist who has served as a professor at Cambridge and Uppsala Universities and as codirector of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences. He launched a globally comparative project on cities of power, focusing on capital cities.

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Table of Contents

Tables and figures vi

Acronyms and abbreviations viii

Preface ix

Figures xi

1 Introduction Simon Bekker Göran Therborn 1

2 Conakry Odile Goerg 8

3 Dakar Amadou Diop 32

4 Lomé Philippe Gervais-Lambony 46

5 Lagos Laurent Fourchard 66

6 Abuja Wale Adebanwi 84

7 Brazzaville Gabriel Tati 104

8 Nairobi Samuel Owuor Teresa Mbatia 120

9 Maputo and Luanda Paul Jenkins 142

10 South African capital cities Alan Mabin 168

11 Conclusion Göran Therborn Simon Bekker 193

Contributors 211

Credits 212

Index 213

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