Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism

Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism

by Mahmood Mamdani
     
 

In analyzing the obstacles to democratization in post- independence Africa, Mahmood Mamdani offers a bold, insightful account of colonialism's legacy--a bifurcated power that mediated racial domination through tribally organized local authorities, reproducing racial identity in citizens and ethnic identity in subjects. Many writers have understood colonial rule as… See more details below

Overview

In analyzing the obstacles to democratization in post- independence Africa, Mahmood Mamdani offers a bold, insightful account of colonialism's legacy--a bifurcated power that mediated racial domination through tribally organized local authorities, reproducing racial identity in citizens and ethnic identity in subjects. Many writers have understood colonial rule as either "direct" (French) or "indirect" (British), with a third variant--apartheid--as exceptional. This benign terminology, Mamdani shows, masks the fact that these were actually variants of a despotism. While direct rule denied rights to subjects on racial grounds, indirect rule incorporated them into a "customary" mode of rule, with state-appointed Native Authorities defining custom. By tapping authoritarian possibilities in culture, and by giving culture an authoritarian bent, indirect rule (decentralized despotism) set the pace for Africa; the French followed suit by changing from direct to indirect administration, while apartheid emerged relatively later. Apartheid, Mamdani shows, was actually the generic form of the colonial state in Africa. Through case studies of rural (Uganda) and urban (South Africa) resistance movements, we learn how these institutional features fragment resistance and how states tend to play off reform in one sector against repression in the other. Reforming a power that institutionally enforces tension between town and country, and between ethnicities, is the key challenge for anyone interested in democratic reform in Africa.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780691027937
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
04/01/1996
Series:
Princeton Studies in Culture/Power/History Series
Pages:
344
Sales rank:
933,339
Product dimensions:
6.11(w) x 9.18(h) x 0.91(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
IIntroduction: Thinking through Africa's Impasse3
Pt. IThe Structure of Power35
IIDecentralized Despotism37
IIIIndirect Rule: The Politics of Decentralized Despotism62
IVCustomary Law: The Theory of Decentralized Despotism109
VThe Native Authority and the Free Peasantry138
Pt. IIThe Anatomy of Resistance181
VIThe Other Face of Tribalism: Peasant Movements in Equatorial Africa183
VIIThe Rural in the Urban: Migrant Workers in South Africa218
VIIIConclusion: Linking the Urban and the Rural285
Notes303
Index339

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