Elites and Political Leadership in Africa: Ethnographic and Theoretical Issues
Convenors: Wale Adebanwi, University of California, (Davis)
California, United States.
Rogers Tabe Orock, Aarhus University, Aarhus,
Discussant: Ebenezer Obadare, Kansas University, Kansas City, Kansas, United States
Political anthropology has long emphasized the point that political leadership is a processual phenomenon rather than a given. It is a function of both the specific attributes of individual agents (political actors) and the sociocultural context that defines the possibilities for expressing such individual intentionalities. Studies of elite leadership in Africa must therefore begin to give greater attention to this dual orientation of political leadership in order to by-pass the current sterility characterizing analyses that dwell solely or mainly on democracy and institutionalism. Doing so will enable us to, potentially, shed light on why recent political projects initiated on the continent such as electoral democracy and institutional reforms have
not yielded the expected outcome of democratic accountability.
This panel is interested in papers that explore how sociocultural contexts and the specific attributes of individual elites enmesh to generate various modes of political accountability between elites and their constituents. It seeks to address questions such as these: To whom do elites render themselves accountable and how do they do so? Why do they choose certain modes of accountability over others? What sociocultural attributes do they need to achieve and sustain recognition as leaders in their communities? How do they acquire such attributes? In addressing such questions, the panel hopes to generate a vigorous debate that will lead participants to engage
in a wider contribution to anthropological studies of elites in postcolonial contexts as well as to the thorny conceptual questions surrounding the state as an ethnographic and analytical category in Africa. We therefore welcome papers that address such questions and others along such lines of inquiry.
Submissions of abstracts of no more than 250 words should be addressed simultaneously to the following email addresses: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org by June 30th, 2014.
1. Wale Adebanwi
University of California, (Davis)
California, United State.
2201 Hart Hall, One Shields Avenue
Davis, CA 95616
Tel: +1-(530) 402-7643
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