Panel 21: Liberating Africa from the Globalization Ghetto

Panel organisers: Bruce Berman (Queen's Univ., Canada), Peter Geschiere (Univ. of Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and John Lonsdale (Univ. of Cambridge, UK)


University of Oxford During the past thirty years policy makers and students of other regions have marginalized Africa as inherently different from the rest of the world in the era of globalization; the global ‘other’ locked in a ghetto of failed states and ethnic hatreds. James Ferguson has called this a reconstitution in intellectually more sophisticated language of the ‘darkest Africa’ imaginary of the 19th century. Africa is, as a result, ignored in most comparative analyses of globalization and its consequences for the rest of the world. We have, however, argued for Africa’s central place in globalization both in the past and during the last three decades, and that African experience is both intimately linked with developments in other regions and both shadow and portent of global change. And this experience also raises in important ways key theoretical and methodological issues regarding the understanding of complexity and contingency in comparative analysis. We wish to explore this issue with regards to the following three topics: 1) African ethnic and religious responses to globalization and the impact on economic growth 2) African ethnic and religious politics in the context of democratization and constitution‐making 3) Africa in the global context of multi-cultural societies, diasporas and transnational politics.

Accepted Abstracts


Of Magic, Invisible Hands and ELFs: How Not to Study Ethnicity in Africa

Globalisation in Sudan: Transnational Social Networks and Economic Growth

Rise and Pitfalls of Somali Globalization: Trade at the Interstices and the Combat between Formal and Informal Regimes

Can Institutional Reforms Liberate Africa from the Globalization Ghetto? Lessons from Economic Reforms in Nigeria's Fourth Republic


Negotiating Globalization through Hybridization: Hip Hop and the Creation of Cross-over Culture in Nigerian Popular Music

“I was Born in the Bush!” Migration, Adventure and Home Politics in the Diasporic Life of a Gambian Diamond Dealer

Crisis and the Regeneration of the Self: The Mungiki Movement’s Power of Mobilisation

Cultural Capital in a Global Cosmopole

Risk and Pleasure in Romantic Discourses: Problematizing the Phenomenon of Global Youth Marketing in Kenya