The State

  • Patrick Chabal


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.


Political Community Colonial Rule Colonial Power Colonial State Political Analysis 
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Copyright information

© Patrick Chabal 1992

Authors and Affiliations

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

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