Except-Africa: Remaking Development, Rethinking Power

1st Edition

Emery Roe

Routledge
Published February 5, 2018
Reference - 204 Pages
ISBN 9781138509924 - CAT# Y373108

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Summary

It is a commonplace that the problems of African rural development are becoming increasingly complex--that is, they have grown more numerous, interrelated, and varied. This complexity has generated a multitude of development scenarios. Such scenarios encourage decision making along rigid and narrow patterns that ignore the diversity of local situations and national cultures. Among these is the doomsday scenario, applied to every nation on the continent, best captured in the phrase "Everything worksàexcept in Africa." Emery Roe argues that crisis scenarios generated by an expert (usually non-African) elite are self-serving and counterproductive. Despite this, they go largely unchallenged, even when they fail to explain or predict. Except-Africa takes up the challenge of devising development scenarios that do justice to the continent's variegated reality.The book begins by defining what the author means by a development narrative. The subsequent chapters provide alternate scenarios to such dominant models. Chapter 2 sketches four counter-narratives to the tragedy of the common argument, while chapter 3 constructs the most innovative challenge to conventional ways of thinking about Sub-Saharan pastoralism in decades. Chapter 4 develops an alternative scenario of expatriate advising in Africa, while chapter 5 devises a counter-narrative to the all-too-common views about government budgeting in Nigeria, Kenya, and Ghana. Chapter 6 presents a case study and counter-narrative from Zimbabwe of a complex local government reform. The book concludes by moving beyond case material and specific situations to answer the most imperative question in African studies and rural development: What would a politics of complexity look like in Africa if complexity were seriously engaged?Contemporary African studies are dominated by narratives about power. Yet in African rural development, power interests are by no means always clear. Development issues are frequently contingent and provisional. Surviving the tangled fusion of narrative and reality requires a politics of complexity. Except-Africa will be an essential work in meeting that challenge.

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