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Indiana University Press
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Are self-interested elites the curse of liberal democracy in Africa? Is there hope against the politics of the belly, kleptocracies, vampire states, failed states, and Afro-pessimism? In Reasonable Radicals and Citizenship in Botswana, Richard Werbner examines a rare breed of powerful political elites who are not tyrants, torturers, or thieves. Werbner's focus is on the Kalanga, a minority ethnic group that has served Botswana in business and government since independence. Kalanga elites have expanded public services, advocated causes for the public good, founded organizations to build the public sphere and civil society, and forged partnerships and alliances with other ethnic groups in Botswana. Gathering evidence from presidential commissions, land tribunals, landmark court cases, and his lifetime relationship with key Kalanga elites, Werbner shows how a critical press, cosmopolitanism, entrepreneurship, accountability, and the values of patriarchy and elderhood make for an open society with strong, capable government. Werbner's work provides a refreshing alternative to those who envision no future for Africa beyond persistent agony and lack of development.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Title page, Copyright, Dedication
  2. pp. iii-v
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  1. Contents
  2. p. vii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. ix-x
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  1. Introduction: Reflections and Frontiers
  2. pp. 1-10
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  1. Part 1. CITIZENS NEGOTIATING POWER: Elites, Minorities, and Tribal Bureaucrats
  2. p. 11
  1. 1. Postcolonial Wisdom: The Post - Civil Service and the Public Good
  2. pp. 13-31
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  1. 2. The Minorities Debate
  2. pp. 32-47
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  1. 3. The Politics of Recognition and "Pressure Groups"
  2. pp. 48-62
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  1. 4. Cosmopolitan Ethnicity, Entrepreneurship, and the Nation
  2. pp. 63-85
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  1. 5. Official Blundering and the Discredited Commission
  2. pp. 86-108
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  1. 6. Land, Clients, and Tribal Bureaucrats
  2. pp. 109-130
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  1. Part 2. THE RISE OF PUBLIC MAN: Elders
  2. p. 131
  1. 7. Bringing Back the Dead
  2. pp. 133-145
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  1. 8. Public Officer, Public Officer Emeritus
  2. pp. 146-161
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  1. 9. The Making of a Reasonable Radical
  2. pp. 162-187
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  1. Epilogue: Postcolonial Wisdom, Beyond Afro-pessimism
  2. pp. 188-204
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  1. Notes
  2. pp. 205-220
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  1. References
  2. pp. 221-234
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  1. Author Index
  2. pp. 235-237
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  1. Subject Index
  2. pp. 139-254
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