By Sanya Osha (auth.)
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Additional resources for African Postcolonial Modernity: Informal Subjectivities and the Democratic Consensus
33 In other words, there is an inability to recognize in a distinctive way, the epistemological and historical antecedents of democratic culture and the ways by which they permeate and shape the destinies of popular social struggles. Usually, “democratic” experiments are conducted from “above” within elitist citadels of excessive bureaucratization in which both local and international interests sometimes converge and at times are in conflict. In The Coming Anarchy, Robert D. Kaplan advocates a disconcerting thesis which is that projects of democratization in Africa usually end up in failure because the preconditions that created democracy in the West are largely absent in the African continent.
There seems to be a gangsterization of the activities of elected public functionaries taking place instead of the much-awaited dividends of democracy, which, in public imagination, include the provision and discernible improvement of social services and infrastructure, a robust public health delivery system, decent educational facilities, economic advancement, and the provision of social security. Nothing so far has indicated that these expectations would be met. With the collapse of some segments of the formal economic sector and all its attendant implications, politics as a means of survival become the only feasible option.
In many African contexts, the relations between formal and informal institutions and practices are not always clear and this lack of clarity has effects on individual subjectivity, social practices and formations, and the constitution of institutions. Indeed, part of the institutionalization of informality stems from the state itself that experiences varying degrees of the privatization of its authority on the one hand, and an ongoing erosion of the bases of its legitimacy, on the other. Informality does not necessarily become a negative feature since it demonstrates the limits of more formal arrangements.
African Postcolonial Modernity: Informal Subjectivities and the Democratic Consensus by Sanya Osha (auth.)