International Relations and the Discourse of State Failure in Africa

  • Zubairu Wai


This chapter interrogates the dominant discourses on and about African regime types and their relationship with what has come to be seen as pervasive state failure on the continent. The chapter argues that these discourses posit a vulgar universalism that is incapable of apprehending the singularity of African historical experiences, especially the specificities of its state forms which were constituted under concrete conditions of colonial domination, and through this, complex political realities, and the co-constitutive vectors in which they remain enmeshed are subsumed under the totalitarian grip of a Eurocentric unilinear evolutionist logic. Through ideologically disposed interventions, which function as mechanisms for effacing or rendering invisible the relational and structural logic of past histories of colonial domination and contemporary imperial power relations within which the states in Africa have historically been constituted and continue to be reconstituted and reimagined, as well as the power relations they make possible, international relations construct Africa as an object of its discourse and a Western will to power and domination, while simultaneously making itself and the world in which we live.


Africa State failure Neopatrimonialism Evolutionism International relations Universality Ideal types Weberian state 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zubairu Wai
    • 1
  1. 1.Lakehead UniversityThunder BayCanada

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