Cover

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pp. 1-3

Title Page

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pp. 4-4

Copyright Page

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pp. 5-5

Dedication Page

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pp. 6-7

Table of Contents

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pp. 8-9

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Introduction: Liberia, Violence, and Democracy

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pp. 1-26

Violence and democracy are words that do not sit easily together in the same sentence. Indeed, our tendency as Westerners is to see them as opposite ends of an evolutionary scale; the successor to widespread violence, we often imagine, ...

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1: The Case for Indigenous Democracy

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pp. 27-52

The scholarly literature on democracy is, like that on war and violence,voluminous and at times contradictory. That portion of it dedicated to Africa has come primarily from political scientists, who have devoted much time and care to constructing typologies and -...

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2: Contested Histories

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pp. 53-73

Few other nations in Africa have been so relentlessly represented as the victim of their own “peculiar” history as Liberia (for a classic example,see Tim Weiner, “Of Liberia’s Many Sorrows, and Their Roots,” New York Times, September 3, 2003). Indeed, many other African ...

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3: Civilization and the Liberian Nation

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pp. 74-100

When the young, rurally recruited fighters of Charles Taylor’s NPFL entered Monrovia in the summer of 1990, it was the first time that many of them had seen their capital city. Ellis writes that these young men reserved particularly vicious retribution for members of their own ...

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4: The Promise and Terror of Elections

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pp. 101-123

In Chapter 1, I argued that a number of longstanding indigenous institutions might be characterized as democratic, if we broaden the definition of that term to include multiple means of direct participation in decision making for people in a range of unequal social positions. -...

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5: The Lock on the Outhouse Door: Discourses of Development

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pp. 124-139

What do people expect, in practical terms, of living in a democratic state? While political theorists may focus on elections, transparency, and good governance, for most poor, rural people in nonindustrialized countries,“democracy” is measured in more mundane amenities like clean running water or reliable electrical ...

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6: The Crisis of Youth and the Promise of the Future

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pp. 140-155

For most of the sixteen months that I lived in Liberia in the early 1980s, Ilived in an extended household of “civilized Glebo” in the community of Hoffman Station, outside Harper city, Maryland County. The male head of the household, the kai bua or “house father,” was ...

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7: Conclusion: A Wedding and a Funeral

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pp. 156-163

I began this book with three broad goals: to “denaturalize” the violence taking place in Liberia and elsewhere and, in so doing, to challenge the“New Barbarism Hypothesis”; to argue that a democratic tradition exists in the political institutions of indigenous communities as well ...

References

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pp. 165-178

Index

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pp. 179-188

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Acknowledgments

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pp. 189-190

I am deeply grateful to many individuals and institutions for supporting this research over the years. First and foremost, my husband, Jordan Kerber, without whose loving support and computer expertise I would certainly be lost. My children, Pearl and John, ...