The "Civil Society" Problematique: Deconstructing Civility and Southern Nigeria's Ethnic Radicalization

The "Civil Society" Problematique: Deconstructing Civility and Southern Nigeria's Ethnic Radicalization

The "Civil Society" Problematique: Deconstructing Civility and Southern Nigeria's Ethnic Radicalization

The "Civil Society" Problematique: Deconstructing Civility and Southern Nigeria's Ethnic Radicalization

Synopsis

This volume deftly undertakes both a theoretical deconstruction of the concept of civil society (and related themes, including civility) and an empirical analysis of the radicalization process in Southern Nigeria.

Excerpt

How does one react to the gnawing feeling that one's person, kin, religious beliefs or even intellectual predilections do not belong? How does one deal with a lack of awareness and concern emanating from governmental, societal and related sources? These contemplative questions and others like them undoubtedly are related to the substantive focus of this study. For anyone who has experienced marginalization, whether it is de facto or relatively benign, or far more egregious and de jure in nature, the answers to the previously-posed questions are not easily found.

Certain individuals, regardless of the enormity of the injustice meted out to them, employ 'mainstream' strategies that do not overly defy those in authority, choose to be passive and do not directly challenge their seemingly-inferior position. Conversely, others operating in similar or divergent milieux select more confrontational, radical or violent stratagems to achieve their objectives, make themselves known, and confront entrenched, resilient and hostile power structures whose very existence is antithetical to their progress.

In this vein, they become vocal on matters that the larger community considers sacred, organize themselves to promote the good of people just like themselves, and become the 'sacrificial lambs' that state authorities literally or figuratively sacrifice in their quest for order and control. This is not to justify the utilization of radical tactics but to simply reiterate the rather obvious point that, if colorism, deprivation, ethnicism, racism, genderism, exclusion, disenfranchisement, elitism, xenophobia, other forms of marginalization, censorship and authoritarianism prevail at the macro or micro level, reactions to such ills potentially could range from passivity to violence.

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