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Civic Agency in Africa: arts of resistance in the 21st Century

Eds. Wendy Willems and Ebenezer Obadare
James Currey (February 2014)

The recent eruption of popular protests across North Africa and the Middle East has reopened academic debate on the meaning and strategies of resistance in the 21st century. This book argues that Western notions of state and civil society provide only a limited understanding of how power and resistance operate in the African context, where informality is central to the way both state officials and citizens exercise agency.
With the principle of informality as a template, the chapters in this volume collectively examine the various modes - organised and unorganised, formal and informal, urban and rural, embodied and discursive, serious and ludic, online and offline, successful and failing - through which Africans contend with power. Resistance takes place against the backdrop of deep fractures in state sovereignty, the remnants of colonial rule and the constraints of a global, neoliberal economic system.

  • Wendy Willems is Assistant Professor, Department of Media and Communications, at LSE and Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Media Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.
  • Ebenezer Obadare is Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, University of Kansas.

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