Beyond the State in Rural Uganda

Synopsis

In this innovative study, Ben Jones argues that scholars too often assume that the state is the most important force behind change in local political communities in Africa. Studies look to the state, and to the impact of government reforms, as ways of understanding processes of development and change. Using the example of Uganda, regarded as one of Africa's few "success stories", Jones chronicles the insignificance of the state and the marginal impact of Western development agencies. Extensive ethnographic fieldwork in a Ugandan village reveals that it is churches, the village court, and organizations based on family and kinships obligations that represent the most significant sites of innovation and social transformation. Groundbreaking and critical in turn, Beyond the State offers a new anthropological perspective on how to think about processes of social and political change in poorer parts of the world. It should appeal to anyone interested in African development. Key features:
• Offers a new approach to studying development and change
• Gives a fresh perspective on Christianity in Africa
• Looks at problems of international development assistance
• Provides a rich ethnographic rural study from east Africa