The Effect of Political Economy on Civil Wars in Africa - a Comparative Overview

Topics: Africa, World War II, Economics Pages: 15 (5012 words) Published: January 27, 2013
African Coparative Politics.|
Research paper|
The Effect of Political Economy on Civil Wars in Africa - a Comparative Overview| |

M.A. in Political Science

This paper focuses primarily on the political economy and offers this as a perspective of the high incidence of civil wars in Africa. The main issue that this paper is addressing is the way we could understand another part of the world using our own perspective and methods, and using a frame of thought that is generally related to modernity and the western civilization. Are these ways of thinking adequate and appropriate for understanding Africa? Focusing on civil wars as the main tool of analysis, this paper will try to look at African events that happened in different parts of the continent and at the humanitarian aid which was conducted by western countries. The main question that rises is whether this approach, which is mainly based on modern concepts, could identify, understand and solve conflict and the most important problems of Africa, or would it just propagate and worsen them. Consequently, the specific question that this paper will try to address has to do with the implication of the UN international organisation, and trying to answer whether UN is a part of the African war machine.

While this paper cannot itself emphasize its own strengths, it will try to address an issue that was seen as one of the main weaknesses in the comments of the peers. That is a broad, wide focus on an area with different conflict triggers and mechanisms. This has to do mainly with the fact that the focus is rather on the UN and the implications and outcomes of its policies and involvement, rather than comparing two African countries or different aspects within the same country / region.

As a main research method, this paper has used the literature review method. The methodological framework looks at the work of several academicians concerned with African politics, such as Benedict Anderson, Partha Chatterjee’s article “Anderson’s Utopia, Bruce Jones, Peace-making in Rwanda: The Dynamics of Failure, Mahmood Mamdani , Said Adejumobi’s article “Citizenship, Rights and the Problem of Conflicts and Civil Wars in Africa”, Stephen Ellis, Barbara Harff, “Internal Wars and Failures of Governance, 1954-96”, Paul Collier & Anke Hoeffler, On the Incidence of Civil War in Africa, World Bank. David Laitin, “Somalia: Civil War and International Intervention”, Barbara Walter and Jack Snyder, Civil War, Insecurity and Intervention Mark Duffield, Global Governance and the New Wars: The Merging of Development and Security Zed Books, William Reno, “Shadow States and the Political Economy of Civil Wars”, Duffield, and Jack Snyder - From Voting to Violence.

In his book, “Imagined communities: reflections on the origin and spread of nationalism”, one of the most important works of the century, Benedict Anderson speaks about the way homogeneous large societies experience simultaneous newspaper reading, or how they emulate their lives out of popular fiction heroes1. According to Anderson, the standard and homogeneous policy that emerged with the industrial civilization dislodges the cosmos to reveal the integrity of the “world” as we see it today. Partha Chatterjee, by opposing Anderson`s form of policy conceptualization, says that the perception of policy we see in Anderson`s approach calls for an understanding of the world as a homogeneous integrity. This form of policy occupies the free homogeneous time of modernism. In this free homogeneous time, the difference is that the things that should have been left in the past could not be left in the past. From this perspective, modernism sees itself as time, characterizes the resistance against itself as being archaic, and eventually declares the victory of capital and modernism beyond debate. According to Chatterjee, people can only imagine themselves in a free homogeneous time but, in reality, they do not live in...
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