Call for Papers--Democracy and Development: Journal of West African Affairs Special Issue
Volume 5 Number 1 2004
Theme: Religion, Politics and Society in Contemporary West Africa
Post 9/11, the world at large has witnessed a deepening of both scholastic and policy interest in religion and related subjects. The United States, for one, has made the ‘crusade’ against religiously-inspired global terrorism the hub of its radically redefined foreign policy. This is also true of Europe, particularly Britain, where the threat associated with ‘Radical Islam’ is threatening to upstage the existing policy on immigration and foreigners. These developments have not left the West-African sub-region unmarked. The post 9/11 ‘surveillance’ on religious fundamentalism has coincided with a renewed resurgence of the religious imagination in many West African countries, leaving the spontaneous challenge of how to maintain a balance between doctrinal rigour and political extremism. At the same time, religion, which in many ways was central to the process of political demilitarisation, has continued to impact on transitioning West African societies in many ways. In these societies, the influence of religion can be observed across many social geographies- in higher institutions, corporate organisations, official institutions; in short, every social interstice where religion is theoretically expected to be ‘noticed’ by its absence. This process, what we might call the enchantment of the public realm, has had profound consequences for traditional divisions between the public and the private spheres. Furthermore, there are emergent challenges to the State in West Africa, nay the continent at large, from youth movements whose allegiance to extant state structures are, at best, dubious; a development with serious consequences for already weakened state legitimacy. We invite contributions from across disciplines and methodologies which balance the theoretical and the empirical, rethinking these issues in innovative and challenging ways. Authors are encouraged to pay special attention to the ways in which new religious movements question the legitimacy of the state, the role of alienated youth in the formation of these movements, the surge of fundamentalisms across the sub-region, and how ordinary people are using religion to re-negotiate the existing terms of citizenship, engage with or subvert the state. However, we encourage potential contributors not to limit themselves to these issues alone. Selected papers (which will not be more than 7,500 words long) will be peer reviewed and authors will be asked to make corrections where necessary. Electronic submissions (by email as MS Word attachment) are preferred.
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