The African colonial state in comparative perspective [electronic resource] /
Crawford Young.
New Haven : Yale University Press, c1994.
xii, 356 p. ; 25 cm.
0300058020 (cloth : acid-free paper)
More Details
New Haven : Yale University Press, c1994.
0300058020 (cloth : acid-free paper)
Licensed for access by U. of T. users.
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references (p. 293-348) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1995-09:
This book, by a distinguished Africanist scholar, is an articulate analysis of the colonial era and its significance for the postindependence period. Identifying hegemony, autonomy, security, legitimacy, revenue, and accumulation as the major characteristics of colonialism in Africa, Young argues that negative aspects of these patterns of political behavior were inescapable and were ultimately reproduced by African leaders after independence. The author differentiates between European colonialism in Africa and in other colonized areas, concluding that its impact was dynamic because of the speed of the process, subsequent "ruthless" extraction of resources, dominance of their technologies, and an era of "virulent racism"; these influences promoted African authoritarian behavior initially designed to realize the goals of "great expectations" inspired partly by colonial paternalistic welfare policies developed after WW II. Lacking what Young calls the "insulation" of major religious systems, as in Asia, or opportunities to create a durable civil society, the independent African state became "a derelict reproduction of the old one, unable to perform its functions with the same competence." In conclusion, Young notes that the current democratization process is a "cathartic reaction to an alienating state." This book belongs in every library. M. E. Doro; Connecticut College
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, September 1995
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Main Description
In this comprehensive and original study, a distinguished scholar of African affairs argues that the crisis in African development can be traced directly to European colonial rule, which left the continent with a "singularly difficult legacy". Crawford Young proposes a new conception of the state, weighing the characteristics of European empires of the past (including those of Holland, Portugal, England, and Venice) and distilling their common qualities. He then presents a concise and wide-ranging history of colonization in Africa, from construction through consolidation and decolonization. Young argues that several qualities combined to make the European colonial experience in Africa distinctive. The high number of nations competing for power on the continent and the necessity to achieve effective occupation swiftly yet make the colonies self-financing drove colonial powers toward policies of "ruthless extractive action". The persistent, virulent racism that distanced rulers from subjects was especially central to African colonial history. Young concludes by comparing the fates of former African colonies with those of their once-colonized counterparts elsewhere. In tracing both the overarching similarities and variations in African colonial states, he makes a strong case that colonialism has played a critical role in shaping the fate of a troubled continent.
Table of Contents
List of Tables
Bula Matari and the Contemporary African Crisisp. 1
On the Statep. 13
The Nature and Genesis of the Colonial Statep. 43
Constructing Bula Matarip. 77
The Colonial State Institutionalizedp. 141
Toward African Independencep. 182
The Ambiguous Challenge of Civil Societyp. 218
The Imperial Legacy and State Traditionsp. 244
The Afterlife of the African Colonial State: Concluding Reflectionsp. 282
Notesp. 293
Indexp. 349
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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