Sovereignty, Legitimacy, and Power in West African Societies

ab 14,90 

Werner Zips; E. Adriaan B. van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal (eds.)

Perspectives from Legal Anthropology

ISBN 978-3-8258-3036-5
Band-Nr. 10
Jahr 1998
Seiten 264
Bindung broschiert
Reihe Afrikanische Studien/African Studies

Artikelnummer: 978-3-8258-3036-5 Kategorien: ,


Africa has been given persistently the negative image of the
lost continent: political turmoil, economic failures,
hunger, disease, irresponsible and irrational warlords and
corrupt regimes.

Such a bias calls for a critique. The authors seek to
analyse power divisions and struggles over sovereignty and
legitimacy in African societies from a historical point of
view. Possibilities for peaceful social relations are taken
as much into account as internal frictions between state and
„traditional authorities“. In a striking difference to the
legitimacy claims of single-rooted states, political
legitimacy in many African states derives from two sources:
the imposed European colonial states and the pre-colonial
African polities. State and traditional authorities (systems
of chieftaincy) depend on each other’s contributions in
striving towards the goals they both desire to achieve in
the fields of development, stable democratic
governance and human rights.

„Indigenous“ institutions are not necessarily inferior to
state institutions. The opposite might be true in view of
the capacity of the traditional institutions not just to
decide internal disputes, but actually to solve them and
thus contribute to social cohesion. Such a perspective is
highly relevant for a variety of concrete social relations
of which gender relations are one important aspect.

E. Adriaan B. van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal is
a senior researcher at the Africa Studies Centre in
Leiden and part-time professor at the University of Leiden.

Werner Zips is lecturer at the Institut für Völkerkunde der
Universität Wien.