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Beyond the critique of neo-liberalism, there is therefore a pressing need to reflect about alternatives that will help Africa back out of this dead-end and find its own path. This is the perspective adopted by this book edited by Ndongo Samba Sylla, which compiles contributions of experts on Africa’s development issues. Can democracy help to achieve the changes that Africans aspire to? If yes, under what conditions? Otherwise, what is the alternative?
Liberalism and its discontents: Social movements in West Africa
The engaging and wide-ranging discussions published here explore contemporary political realities in Africa through a ‘social movement’ lens.
Detailing the nuances of social movement politics in 12 West African countries during the 2010-2013 period, they present a chronicle of the socio-political struggles that have taken place in the region. In so doing, this volume answers key questions related to these movements. What logic drives them? What forms do they take? What has been their political impact? Can we speak of a resurgence of social movements? If so, are these a response to the crisis of ‘representative democracy’? Did they give rise to new forms of expression and democratic participation? What challenges do they bring?
Discontent vis-à-vis liberalism in its political and economic dimensions seems to be the trigger of the numerous popular uprisings and protests that occur in the region. In spite of their ambiguities and limitations, these struggles currently seek to remove a double disconnect: that between citizens and the ‘representatives’ and that between the economy and society, between what capital wants and what the people aspire to.
Ndongo Samba Sylla, the editor of this volume, is a Senegalese economist, programme and research manager at the West Africa Office of the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation. Author of The Fair Trade Scandal. Marketing poverty to benefit the Rich (translated from French by Pluto Press 2014), he is the editor of “Rethinking Development” (Rosa Luxemburg Foundation 2014). His recent research work deals with the history of the word ‘democracy’.
Recent Political Developments in West Africa
A compendium focused on political developments in West Africa from 2014 to early 2015. Popular uprisings, regime collapse, armed conflicts, epidemic, and economic emergencies in various States are reviewed. The questions of sovereignty and the future of social movements are central considerations.