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National Identity and State Formation in Africa

Paperback By Bernard Lategan, Manuel Castells
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Product Description

This book examines how the interplay between globalization and the assertion of local identities is reshaping the political landscape of Africa. While defending their values against external forces, people simultaneously – and paradoxically – use the interconnectivity of global networks to maximize their particular interests. Focusing on the relation between national identity and state formation, the authors explore the far-reaching consequences of these contradictory dynamics.

 Although Africa shares many common trends with other parts of the world, it also displays distinctive features. A region characterized by the increased mobility of people, goods and ideas challenges some conventional assumptions of statecraft and also highlights the advantages of federalism – not merely as a constitutional option, but as a pragmatic device for managing diversity and holding fragile states together. The book further explores emerging types of state formation in the same political space, as exemplified by the combination of elements of a kingdom, an independent state and a national power base in the province of Kwa

Zulu-Natal and the careful crafting of an alternative state within a state by the Solidarity Movement in South Africa.

 Informed by examples and case studies drawn from different parts of Africa, this book will be of great interest to students and scholars of Africa, politics, sociology, media studies and the social sciences more generally.

Product Details

Format: Paperback, 240 pages Language: English
Dimension: 22.61cm x 14.99cm x 1.78cm ISBN10: 1509545611
Weight: 363g ISBN13: 9781509545612
Publication Date: 29 Jan 2021 Publisher: Polity Press

About Author

Manuel Castells is Professor Emeritus of Sociology, University of California, Berkeley. He is one of the most widely-cited and influential social scientists in the world today and he has taught at universities in Chile, Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Bolivia. Bernard Lategan is Founder and former Director of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study in South Africa.

Product Reviews


“Few topics in the study of Africa resonate with as much importance as national identity, state formation, and the relation between them. In this original volume, an impressive palette of top scholars engages these issues from different angles and across multiple cases. The result is eye-opening with studies of citizenship, federalism, secessionism and accommodation across the continent contrasted with South Africa’s less conventional approaches to identity politics. Altogether, a path-breaking book.”Pierre Englebert, Pomona College & Atlantic Council“This ground-breaking study makes a major contribution to the ongoing debates on the complex interplay between globalisation, identity, and state formation. It provides not only invaluable new insights on the issue, particularly in theoretical and conceptual terms, but also rich empirical illustrations. Its case-studies actually are fascinating accounts of the diverse African experience and, above all, illuminate the conventional and unconventional strategies and responses to the aspiration of national identity.”Piet Konings, Honorary Fellow, African Studies Centre, University of Leiden, The Netherlands


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