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The State

  • Patrick Chabal

Abstract

The state is scarcely a new concept in the political analysis of Africa.1 Almost all accounts of post-colonial African politics take as their starting point an examination of the state. There are now probably more books on the state in Africa than about any other political issue. To talk about politics in Africa is virtually to talk about the state. Yet, there is precious little agreement on its conceptual meaning or the interpretative implication of its analysis. Like all abused notions it has become virtually meaningless. We all agree that it is an indispensable concept of modern political analysis but we do not agree on why it is so important to understand its role in the politics of post-colonial African countries. For this reason, and also because it is the general approach of this book, we need to start again at the very beginning.

Keywords

Political Community Colonial Rule Colonial Power Colonial State Political Analysis 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 2.
    See Claessen and Skalnik, 1978. For a case study, see J. Miller, Kings and Kinsmen (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970).Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    Illustrated by the attempts to use N. Poulantzas, Political Power and Social Classes (London: New Left Books, 1973)Google Scholar
  3. 8.
    For an overview, see E. Service, Origins of the State and Civilization (New York: Norton, 1975).Google Scholar
  4. 9.
    M. Weiner and S. Huntington (eds), Understanding Political Development (Boston: Little, Brown, 1987).Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    For a comparative perspective, Z. Ergas (ed.), The African State in Transition (London: Macmillan, 1987).Google Scholar
  6. 15.
    G. Mathias and P. Salama, L’État surdéveloppé (Paris: Maspéro, 1983)Google Scholar
  7. 18.
    See A. Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks (New York: International Publishers, 1971)Google Scholar
  8. 24.
    In France the state was instrumental in creating the nation; E. Weber, Peasants into Frenchmen (London: Chatto & Windus, 1977).Google Scholar
  9. 27.
    J. Lonsdale, ‘The Conquest State of Kenya’, in J.A. de Moor and H. Wesseling (eds), Colonial Warfare, (Leiden: Brill, 1990).Google Scholar
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  11. 29.
    Which theories of collaboration were adept at disguising. One example: J. Gallagher et al., Locality, Province and Nation: Essays on Indian Politics, 1870 to 1940 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973).Google Scholar
  12. 36.
    M. Chanock, Law, Custom and Social Order (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985).Google Scholar
  13. 38.
    Cabrai advocated complete decentralisation: see B. Davidson, The Liberation of Guiné (Harmondsworth, Penguin, 1969), p. 137.Google Scholar
  14. 39.
    R. Price, Society and Bureaucracy in Contemporary Ghana (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975).Google Scholar
  15. 48.
    As the French-speaking countries did successfully. See Olivier Vallée, Le prix de l’argent CFA (Paris: Karthala, 1989).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Patrick Chabal 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrick Chabal
    • 1
  1. 1.King’s College LondonUK

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