Religion and Political Opposition in Africa
Call for papers of Civilisations, vol. 59 (1)
Call for Papers Deadline:
Call for papers
Civilisations vol. 59 (1)
Religion and Political Opposition in Africa
Guest editors: Géraldine André (FUCAM) and Mathieu Hilgers (FNRS/UCL)
During the 1990s, under multiple pressures such as national conferences, protest movements, injunctions of international institutions, most African countries have undergone institutional changes leading “authoritarian regimes” to democratization processes. Today, adjectives used by political scientists to describe African politics reflect the current state of this transition: “semi-authoritarian regime”, “hybrid regime”, “electoral authoritarianism”, “failed democracy”, “new authoritarianism”, “competitive authoritarianism”… Indeed, contemporary African political systems are characterized by their ambiguity: whilst their governments show an apparent respect for political freedom, by organizing fair elections and using rhetoric and institutions which look democratic, they also maintain many aspects of authoritarian governance.
However, some institutional changes open to actual political transformations and strengthen the democratization dynamic. Decentralization and devolution of administration stimulate political ambitions of local communities structured around normative regimes (religious, traditional…). These processes foster these communities to defend their interests, express claims and also reinforce their impact on political institutions. However, expressing political demands and using new institutional framework entail learning processes. Structured organizations with a relative political autonomy and having a tradition of contestation are probably the most appropriate to speak out and, sometimes, to reinforce a movement of democratization and participate in the politicization of the civil society. Some political scientists have shown for instance the importance of religious movements in the reinforcement of democratic institutions in Africa.
This thematic issue will focus specifically on the articulation of beliefs and forms of political opposition. In fact, religious or customary beliefs are always supported by a worldview which is at least implicitly political. Moreover, contemporary African institutions and networks constitute a context which can reinforce or hinder the impact of contestations and provide an opportunity to express and promote conceptions of politics. The different stakes of this issue are 1) to identify the historical importance of these participations and oppositions movements related with religious or customary practices, 2) to evaluate the importance of this form of political opposition today.
To explore these questions, we will encourage an approach “from below”, centred on the impact of the popular initiatives on political institutions. This issue will of course not be focused on an exhaustive presentation of these phenomena. It will rather encourage analyses of cases which reflect on these situations from different point of view (historical, sociological, anthropological….) and concern different dimensions of social life where the articulation between (religious or customary) beliefs and politics are important.
Propositions of articles either in English or French (title + 250 words abstract) should be sent before the 15 February 2009 both to the editorial board of the journal (firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com) and to the guest editors of the journal issue, Géraldine André (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Mathieu Hilgers (email@example.com).
Civilisations is a peer-reviewed journal of anthropology. Published continuously since 1951, it features articles in French and English in the various fields of anthropology, without regional or time limitations. Revived in 2002 with a new editorial board and a new subtitle (Revue internationale d'anthropologie et de sciences humaines), Civilisations particularly encourage the submission of articles where anthropological approaches meet other social sciences, to better tackle processes of society making.
Information for authors available on http://www.ulb.ac.be/is/revciv.html#presentation
Issues of the journal will be available soon, after a three years moving wall period, on the platform revues.org. The new website address of the journal will be civilisations.revues.org
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