Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism (Princeton Series in Culture/Power/History)

Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism (Princeton Series in Culture/Power/History)

Mahmood Mamdani

Language: English

Pages: 344

ISBN: 0691027935

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In analyzing the obstacles to democratization in post- independence Africa, Mahmood Mamdani offers a bold, insightful account of colonialism's legacy--a bifurcated power that mediated racial domination through tribally organized local authorities, reproducing racial identity in citizens and ethnic identity in subjects. Many writers have understood colonial rule as either "direct" (French) or "indirect" (British), with a third variant--apartheid--as exceptional. This benign terminology, Mamdani shows, masks the fact that these were actually variants of a despotism. While direct rule denied rights to subjects on racial grounds, indirect rule incorporated them into a "customary" mode of rule, with state-appointed Native Authorities defining custom. By tapping authoritarian possibilities in culture, and by giving culture an authoritarian bent, indirect rule (decentralized despotism) set the pace for Africa; the French followed suit by changing from direct to indirect administration, while apartheid emerged relatively later. Apartheid, Mamdani shows, was actually the generic form of the colonial state in Africa.

Through case studies of rural (Uganda) and urban (South Africa) resistance movements, we learn how these institutional features fragment resistance and how states tend to play off reform in one sector against repression in the other. Reforming a power that institutionally enforces tension between town and country, and between ethnicities, is the key challenge for anyone interested in democratic reform in Africa.

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explanation-are brought out fully in the controversy that surrounds the historical significance of Mau Mau in Kenya. One side dismisses Mau Mau as "a narrow tribalist affair" because it was organized mainly in the Kikuyu nationality/ 4 because it "aimed at a revival of Kikuyu culture," 15 or because Mau Mau songs "reflected Kikuyu values." 16 The other upholds Mau Mau as a national movement either on grounds of its ideology (the "revolutionary" content of Mau Mau songs) or on the grounds that it

both to recognize and to transcend the points of difference. If there is a lesson in the experience of oppositional movements-whether rural, such as the Ruwenzururu, the NRA, and the Sungusungu or the urban, such as the independent trade unions in post-1973 South Africa-it is that to create a democratic solidarity requires joining the emphasis on autonomy with the one on alliance, that on participatory self-rule with one on representational politics. In the specific circumstances of contemporary

Malinke, the kiboko in Kiswahili, and the sjambok in South Africa-on parts of the body less exposed but more sensitive. Much has been written about the French colonial system of the indigenat, but inevitably it has been exceptionalized as a specifically French practice, and an early one at that. Its origin lay in an early colonial presumption that almost all the whites "had the authority to inflict punishment" on any native. Formalized as the indigenat in Algeria in the 1870s, the system was

realize the charitable conditions or the long-range effect. But the way followed cannot be abandoned. Cotton-purchasing zones had been organized in the Congo from the 1920s on. Each zone pitted a monopoly purchaser against tens of thousands of cultivators. The administration set the rules of the game, that is, the minimum price for the crop and the minimum area each cultivator had to work. This system was extended to palm fruits and rice in the 1930s. When European settlers took over Mrican

lessons learned in Handeni District in 1968 were put to countrywide use between 1972 and 1975. Before that could be done, the district-level state apparatuses were strengthened through an ambitious "decentralization" program. Beginning with the creation of villagebased militia in 1971, senior officials were "decentralized" to regions and districts. A similar reorganization of the party created a strong and well-paid party bureaucracy at the regional, district, divisional, and even ward level.

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