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States and power in Africa:comparative lessons in authority and control by J. Herbst - Essay Example

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As the world continues to become what is today referred to as a global village, the happenings and events in one part of the world concerns other parts much as it would concern them if it happened to them personally…
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States and power in Africa:comparative lessons in authority and control by J. Herbst
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Download file to see previous pages As the world continues to become what is today referred to as a global village, the happenings and events in one part of the world concerns other parts much as it would concern them if it happened to them personally. In those days, the fundamental idea behind studying African politics was for the benefit of the Europeans in knowing how well they were colonizing the African continent (Giggs 2012). At the early stages of the post-colonial era, studies on African politics became necessary to as a tool for measuring the level of adherence to basic political principles that the Africans were expected to have learned from the Europeans. This is not to say however, that no form of politics existed in African before colonialism but that the kind of politics where undocumented and unstudied (Cooper, 2012). Today, African political studies are necessary because it has become part of a lager global phenomenon. It is against this backdrop that the attempt by Herbst (2000) to analyze African politics through a comparative system of pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial eras is worth discussing in identifying some of the major timelines that has existed in African politics since. Herbst (2000) argues in his book titled “States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control” that the larger concept of politics in Africa rooted under the basis of state-building is unusual and characterized with questionable contrast to what prevails in Europe. To this end, he states that “The African experience of politics amid large supplies of land and low population densities while confronting an inhospitable physical setting is in dramatic contrast to the European experience of state-building” (p. 13) ...
13) This general background given about state-building in African is actually attributed to the pre-colonial era before the Europeans set foot in Africa. This is a major argument of the book and could be interpreted as that, the African perspective of modern day state-building, which is characterized by the quest for territorial conquering as compared to human empowerment and the harnessing of resources is an innate part of the African culture, that could not be changed by the influence of the European style of governance. Indeed, even at the time that the Europeans were present, African still fought over the ownership of land and so there is very little argument that can be given against the fact that the practice existed long before the Europeans arrived in Africa (Giggs 2012). Leaders as part of Fundamental problem confronting State-building in Africa Another strong argument held in the book by Herbst (2000) is that the African leader is a major part of the African problem and that change can hardly happen to Africa and African state-building if no change happens to leadership in Africa. Following this argument, Herbst laments how most African leaders have become conscious of their personal gains and interests to the detriment of the welfare of the larger populace. As a defense, Herbst touches on how the national design and domestic politics of African has been reduced to leadership entitlements in order to make sure that as much power over the land as possible comes into the hands of people calling themselves leaders of the land. What could be most wondering on the national design and domestic politics of Africa, which has been left in the hands of the African leader, is that not much is being done to analyze the impact of the same old ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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