States and Power in Africa: Comparative Lessons in Authority and Control

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Princeton University Press, 26 mar. 2000 - 280 páginas

Theories of international relations, assumed to be universally applicable, have failed to explain the creation of states in Africa. There, the interaction of power and space is dramatically different from what occurred in Europe. In his groundbreaking book, Jeffrey Herbst places the African state-building process in a truly comparative perspective, examining the problem of state consolidation from the precolonial period, through the short but intense interlude of European colonialism, to the modern era of independent states. Herbst's bold contention--that the conditions now facing African state-builders existed long before European penetration of the continent--is sure to provoke controversy, for it runs counter to the prevailing assumption that colonialism changed everything.

In identifying how the African state-building process differs from the European experience, Herbst addresses the fundamental problem confronting African leaders: how to extend authority over sparsely settled lands. Indeed, efforts to exert control over vast, inhospitable territories of low population density and varied environmental and geographical zones have resulted in devastating wars, millions of refugees, and dysfunctional governments perpetrating destructive policies.

Detailing the precise political calculations of distinct African leaders, Herbst isolates the basic dynamics of African state development. In analyzing how these leaders have attempted to consolidate power, he is able to evaluate a variety of policy alternatives for dealing with the fundamental political challenges facing African states today.

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Reseña de usuario  - jarlalex - LibraryThing

It will be much easier to follow if you have a basic understanding of African geography (i.e. major cities, which countries were whose colonies, etc.) but - having that - this lays out a rather deep ... Leer reseña completa

LibraryThing Review

Reseña de usuario  - thcson - LibraryThing

I liked this book a lot. The author discusses the requirements of African government and the European state system which has provided the model for African political institutions after independence ... Leer reseña completa

Sobre el autor (2000)

Jeffrey Herbst is Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School. He is the author of Politics of Reform in Ghana 1982-1991 and State Politics in Zimbabwe.

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