The University of Wisconsin Press
The Postcolonial State in Africa
Fifty Years of Independence, 1960–2010
“A highly readable, sweeping, and yet detailed analysis of the African state in all its failures and moments of hope. Crawford Young manages to touch upon all the important issues in the discipline and crucial developments in the recent history of the African continent. This book will be a classic.”
—Pierre Englebert, author of Africa: Unity, Sovereignty and Sorrow
In The Post-colonial State in Africa, Crawford Young offers an informed and authoritative comparative overview of fifty years of African independence, drawing on his decades of research and first-hand experience on the African continent.
Young identifies three cycles of hope and disappointment common to many of the African states (including those in North Africa) over the last half-century: initial euphoria at independence in the 1960s followed by disillusionment with a lapse into single-party autocracies and military rule; a period of renewed confidence, radicalization, and ambitious state expansion in the 1970s preceding state crisis and even failure in the disastrous 1980s; and a phase of reborn optimism during the continental wave of democratization beginning around 1990. He explores in depth the many African civil wars—especially those since 1990— and three key tracks of identity, Africanism, territorial nationalism, and ethnicity.
Only more recently, Young argues, have the paths of the fifty-three African states begun to diverge more dramatically, with some leading to liberalization and others to political, social, and economic collapse—outcomes impossible to predict at the outset of independence.
“The book’s strongest attribute is the careful way that comparative political theory is woven into historical storytelling throughout the text. . . . Written with great clarity even for all its detail, and its interwoven use of theory makes it a great choice for new students of African studies.”
—Australasian Review of African Studies
“An extraordinary tour de force that cogently captures the dynamic political trajectory of the African state during the continent’s first half century of independence.”
—Michael Schatzberg, Series Editor
Crawford Young is the Rupert Emerson Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His many books include The Rise and Decline of the Zairian State, Ideology and Development in Africa, The Politics of Cultural Pluralism, and The African Colonial State in Comparative Perspective.
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LC: 2012015295 DT
488 pp. 6 x 9 1 map, 12 tables
Paper $31.95 s
eBook $24.95 s
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“An interesting, thoughtful, and comprehensive work rich in case material and analysis; the incorporation of the analysis of the North African states is particularly noteworthy. The scope of Young’s knowledge and mastery of the scholarly literature is truly impressive.”
—Catherine Boone, author of Political Topographies of the African State: Territorial Authority and Institutional Choice
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