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Decoding the myriad of The Social Contract in Africa



Edited by: Sanya Osha

Title: The Social Contract in Africa (2014),

Format: Paperback

Genre: (African) Political Science

Comfort level: Intensely in-depth, but clearly stated, no linguistic impediments…academic in textual format

***Fascinating note: Sanya Osha

Sanya Osha is a research fellow, The DST-NRF CoE in Scientometrics and STI Policy in the Institute for Economic Research in Innovation at Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa and fellow of Africa Studies Centre Community, Leiden, and the Netherlands. His previous work has appeared in Transition, Socialism and Democracy, Research in African Literatures, QUEST: An African Journal of Philosophy, Africa Review of Books and the Blackwell Encyclopedia of Twentieth Century Fiction. In 2010, a series of his articles on knowledge appeared in the Oxford Encyclopedia of African Thought. His the author ofKwasi Wiredu and Beyond: The Text, Writing and Thought in Africa (2005), Ken Saro-Wiwa’s Shadow: Politics, Nationalism and the Ogoni Protest Movement (2007) Postethnophilosophy (2011) and African Postcolonial Modernity: Informal Subjectivities and the Democratic Consensus (2014). He is also a co-editor of The Africana World: Fragmentation to Unity and Renaissance (2012) and editor of The Social Contract in Africa (2014).

Synopsis: Readers and students of past and contemporary African politics well know the complex nature of the process of legislation and government in Africa. However, understanding the source from which the conflict(s) and challenges stem is not so complex with the text The Social Contract in Africa (2014). Several learned, scholars in the area of African and Third World politics contribute to this text in a range which envelops the scope of a reader to comprehend the problem(s) facing the Dark Continent. One begins to understand that the eclipse upon the continent is caused by exterior and interior forces equally. Toyin Falola (Nigerian, Professor and historian of African Studies at the University of Texas, Austin) decodes “Transnationalism, denationalism and deterritorialisation: contemporary cultures in the context of globalisation” within chapter one. It is here that the reader learns of Western gentrification of the cultures of Africa. The ever changing political, cultural, economic, and ethnic landscape of Africa is attributed to the imposed ‘European’ transcendence of the concept of Africa. The virtues and faults of such an altering notions and states of being are defined, refined, and explained in this passage. Steven McGiffen (British and American history scholar, Associate Professor of International Relations at the American Graduate School in Paris) carefully provides an in-depth study of the first casualty of the Arab Spring and the spread of the (universal) youth awareness and revolt in the face of the failed ‘Eurocentrical-ization” of democracy in non-Western worlds such as Africa and the Arab world. One learns why the ‘mission accomplished’ verdict by President Bush (Jr.) was naively premature. The hybrid nature of culture, religions, and peoples must be considered in terms of shifting the political bases in many non-Western republics according to McGiffen and he provides a sound argument for sole infusion of Africans and Arabs (alike) in the process of reframing the political landscape of non-Western territories and nations in his chapter “European ‘Democracy Promotion’: dynamic versus passive revolution in the Arab Spring.” Nigel Gibson (Professor and Director of the Honors Program at Emerson College in Boston, Mass.) offers the reader an acutely, terse lesson on the devoid of an overt ideology and intellectual discourse within African politics today. He speaks of the nobility (however failed) of Nkrumah, Frantz Fanon, and Vladimir Lenin in their treatises and causes for equality and a common human base. Covertly, Gibson speaks of the need for an imminent second revolution. Yet, he realizes that with ideology a revolt today may be stunted or castrated because of a ‘core.’ “No longer with the bourgeoisie: fanonian considerations on social movements and forms of organization” is a fascinating review of the roots of ancestral (Modern and Post Modern) philosophical revolts by Nigel Gibson. Readers will be educated and enjoy his application of theory versus no theory today.
I suggest that this book be required reading for all students of African history, economics, and politics. I will certainly depend upon this text in the years to come as events progress and/or regress in Africa.

Critique: This is a text which serves as a manual and catechism for understanding events, happenings, and people. My horizons were broadened by this book and the fallacies of Eurocentric principles of politics became vividly evident in terms of assessing the failure of autonomous politics and republics in Africa. I do hope that this book becomes a prime resource to refute the arguments that state that Africans are responsible (solely) for the chaos and calamity of their own Postcolonial states. I wish to savor the wisdom of this book for many years to come.

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