28. Citizenship and Civil Society: Accountability, Legitimacy and Governance

E-mail of panel organiser: tiina.t.kontinen@jyu.fi  

A growing body of literature investigates the changing forms of citizenship and its social formation in relationships between governmental, private and associational spheres. Citizenships can be understood as a pallet of constellations of social belonging including a variety of claims for rights and responsibilities, and consequently, multiple manifestations of governance. In such constellations, the accountability   relationship and forms of legitimacy gain hybrid forms in which the “modern” and “traditional, “legal” and “legitimate”,   “private sector”, “government” and “civil society” intertwine in many ways.   Such hybrids open arenas where citizenship is exercised, claimed and controlled both by individuals and institutions, often transcending state borders. The panel brings together theoretical and empirical papers which explore the changing arenas of citizenship, accountability and legitimacy.  


1. Exercising citizenship in hybrid organizations? Governance and leadership in African NGOs

Authors: Justice Nyigmah Bawole (University of Ghana Business School, Ghana) and Tiina Kontinen (University of Jyväskylä, Finland)


After the wave of enthusiasm in the 1990s, the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Africa have been under increasing critical scrutiny. The literature has described a variety of contextual interpretations of this specific organizational form. Additionally, disappointment to NGOs as being unable to meet the expectations in regard providing spaces for citizens’ participation and mobilization, but reduced to one-man efforts and briefcase organizations has been articulated. The questions of representativeness, accountability, performance and transparency have been problematized especially in connection with the aid funding channelled through NGOs. Increasing focus has been on research on how NGOs work rather than how they should work. In similar vein, we focus on the organizational realities of NGOs and examine the everyday governance in NGOs situated in and gaining legitimacy from multiple organizational environments. Drawing from the literature on organizational institutionalism and corporate governance we examine the notion of hybrid organization and its implications to governance and leadership practices within relatively small NGOs.  The empirical examples derive from the mechanism of selecting the Board of Directors in Ghanaian indigenous organizations and leadership practices in small Tanzanian NGOs. In conclusion, we discuss our findings on corporate governance in relation to the notion of NGOs occupying a space between “behaving citizens” and “misbehaving states”.

2. Disciplining the market: The changing the structure and function of governance in a Ugandan marketplace

Author: William Monteith (University of East Anglia, UK)


Informal systems of governance in Africa are being reshaped as they come into contact with governments, donors and businesses seeking new ways of accessing and regulating informal activities. In 2012, Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) took over the management of Nakasero Market from a group of vendors, amidst violent confrontations. The market is the oldest in the city, and had developed its own institutions for managing dispute resolution, sickness and burial. For the vendors, the takeover was significant not only for its introduction of a new form of authority in the market, but also for the perceived ‘disorganisation’ of long-standing rules and processes.

Drawing upon observations, interviews and market records collected during 10 months of doctoral fieldwork, this paper presents an analysis of the changing structure and function of governance in a Ugandan marketplace. It explores both the material implications of a switch from a ‘traditional’ to ‘legal’ form of authority - for example the decline of the disciplinary committee and increased use of the Police - and the symbolic implications of the end of the vendors’ management of the market. The paper’s analysis speaks to contemporary debates on how strategies from above and below are transforming social and economic relations in informal spaces in Africa. It demonstrates that the closer one gets to everyday life in such places, the less useful the categories of ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ become for describing governance practices.

3. Resource Conflicts and the Security-Development Nexus in Africa

Author: Joshua Olaniyi Alabi (University of Leeds, UK)


The conflicts in resource-dependent African countries particularly oil, are not limited only to the boundaries of the respective countries, but go far beyond it, from the Nigerian civil war of the late 1960s to the recent war in Libya oil has been the prize in numerous military conflicts. The global consequences of the invasion of Iraq by the United States- led allied forces in 1990 to 1992, and in 2003 have been far reaching. Beyond the threat to global peace and security through the growth of resistance and extremism throughout the world, the humanitarian and economic costs are also alarming.
This paper analyse issues arising from the interrelationships between resource conflicts, security and development that help to explain the nature of underdevelopment in Africa and argues that the main motivation behind insurrections, rebellions and wars in resource-dependent developing countries is not just about greed; in most cases it is resistance to and reaction against long term neglect and socio-economic deprivation in the mineral resource rich regions, the capture and corrupt control of the revenues accruing from such resources either by the International Oil Companies IOCs or the central governments and their lack of accountability to the citizens.
I posit that part of the explanation for the crisis is the nature of the continued exploitative relationship between the IOCs and developing countries in terms of raw materials extraction which has now led to escalating contestation around resource capture - including the state, criminalisation, breakdown of law and order and a global criminal economy network. The adverse social and economic effects are not only felt locally but globally, as any major disruptions to oil production for example the Gulf of Guinea sends the price of oil higher in the international oil market.
I conclude this has led to the radicalisation of development policy, which is merging conflict
resolution with a neoliberal global governance agenda of social transformation of societies in
developing countries. The establishment of the United States African Command (AFRICOM) to police the oil facilities in the Gulf of Guinea region is an unsolicited assistance to protect the energy security interests of the IOCs and the developed nations and may further aggravate crisis in the region.

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