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African Studies in Geography from Below

Michel Ben Arrous, Lazare Ki-Zerbo

Publication Year: 2009

The doctrine of international relations (inter-state, indeed), territorial ideologies, the logic of autochthony and its ramifications, ethnic cleansing, are all hinged at different levels upon the same pseudo-fact: to every society a closed and exclusive territory demarcated by fixed and linear borders. This way of thinking, totally foreign to African societies for a long time, has generated today more contradictions than it can ever solve. The authors of this book make a clear distinction between territory formation "from the top" as being a deliberate political project, and its formation "from below" as being a more diffused historical process which is determined by the scheme of antagonisms and compromises between social forces. In lieu of a stark opposition between "the top" and "below", the authors unveil the interdependence and mutual influence which form the basis of a dual system within which legal formation -by the colonial authorities first, then by the postcolonial one- is confronted with a host of subaltern spatial dynamics, neglecting thereby the legitimacy which only them can provide. As an essential read for anyone who is interested in the relationship between knowledge and power, this book offers stimulating perspectives on the issue of African unity and its epistemological and political challenges. It renews profoundly our approaches to human security, citizenship, borders and mobility. Contributions are in English and in French.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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pp. v-

Contributors

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pp. vii-viii

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Avant-propos

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pp. ix-x

Cet ouvrage est dédié à la mémoire de deux collègues et amis, Emeka Nwokedi et Nduba Echezona, membres du Groupe multinational de travail (GMT) du CODESRIA sur la géographie par le bas...

I. Identités en mouvement

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pp. 1-130

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1. La géographie par le bas : introduction à une aventure collective

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pp. 2-38

La Géographie par le Bas désigne, en première approche, une critique de la pensée territoriale dominante. L’hypothèse centrale de ce livre est que les manières dont nous sommes éduqués à voir le territoire, à le concevoir et, partant, à l’organiser, déterminent...

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2. Identités ethniques et territorialisation en Casamance

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pp. 39-77

Le monde se globalise et simultanément se recompose. Les cartes et les atlas se brouillent. La figuration des frontières inter-étatiques et des identités nationales est apparue dans les années 1990 comme un exercice particulièrement délicat, vite périmé, toujours...

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3. The Future of the Nation-State Project in Africa: The Case of Nigeria

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pp. 79-104

As the Cold War cycle played itself out, some of the multinational nation-states which had been taken for granted such as the former Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia suddenly dissolved. Their splitting pointed towards a direction which had hitherto...

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4. Remapping Kiswahili: A Political Geography of Language, Identity and Africanity

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pp. 105-130

This chapter examines the erosion of a set of religious, racial, ethnic, national and class boundaries in East Africa as reflected in the diffusion of Kiswahili, a grassroots lingua franca that continues to spread despite the resistance of westernized elites and cultural...

II. L’illusion du découpage

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pp. 131-196

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5. The Politics of Frozen State Borders in Postcolonial Africa

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pp. 132-159

The struggle for African independence was both a fight for sovereignty and a process of map-making. What was meant by sovereignty, after decades of colonial rule, seemed evident. There was no unanimity, however, concerning the territorial dimension of...

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6. Whose Self-Determination? Conflicting Nationalisms and the Collapse of Somalia

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pp. 161-196

Self-determination, state-building and the national question have become major problems in Africa. In the early 1960s, when a majority of ex-colonies attained independent statehood, self-determination was broadly understood to be synonymous with decolonization...

III. Rencontres urbaines et migratoires

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pp. 197-342

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7. Refugees at Home? Coping with Somalia Conflict in Nairobi, Kenya

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pp. 209-232

The Republic of Somalia (henceforth Somalia) is one of the few states in the world that had, until recently, totally collapsed. Despite numerous peace initiatives and efforts at restoration, the institutions of central government still remain ineffective in the face of marauding...

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8. BFCI : un laboratoire politique à la croisée des chemins

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pp. 233-268

Nous parlons de BFCI (Burkina Faso Côte d’Ivoire) pour désigner l’entité virtuelle, politique mais non-étatique, que constituerait une certaine forme d’union entre les espaces ivoirien et burkinabé. Non pas la somme des deux États, mais une union entendue comme partage...

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9. West African Labour Migrants and National Security in Nigeria

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pp. 269-295

The economic recession of the 1980s led to a decline in the overall demand for foreign labour in many of the migrant-receiving countries in West Africa. During this period, public opinion and government pronouncements became sensitive to the presence...

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10. Les associations urbaines et le pouvoir local dans les quartiers populaires

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pp. 297-342

Cette étude tente de lire et de réinterpréter la dynamique associative des cités africaines comme un facteur qui structure et organise les relations entre les acteurs des quartiers populaires et leur environnement. Il s’agit de présenter en quoi et comment les associations...

IV. Conclusion

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Conclusion: La géographie par le bas, et après ?

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pp. 344-349

Dix ans ont passé entre nos premières hypothèses de géographie par le bas et la publication du présent volume. Que reste-t-il aujourd’hui d’une perspective qui visait, d’une part à interpréter le désordre territorial des années 1990, d’autre part à préciser...

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9782869783867
Print-ISBN-13: 9782869782310

Page Count: 360
Publication Year: 2009