Studies in Power and Class in Africa


These thirteen original essays bring the concept of social class to the analysis of contemporary African politics. Each study considers different aspects of a single theme: the "authoritative allocation of values," or who gets what when, where, and why--and who gets left out. The essays address problems of major concern in the daily lives of ordinary people, pointing out just how precarious life was for most Africans during and after the Colonial period. They show how class conflict intensified with war and depression, how farmers fled to the city to maintain their independence, and how migrant workers struggled to protect their declining standard of living. The authors, who represent a cross-section of political perspectives and disciplinary backgrounds, also shed light on the importance of the state, religion, ideology, gender, ethnicity, language, and international relations in determining policy and in understanding society in general. Challenging the conventional academic and popular views of Africa, these powerful studies hold implications which, if heeded, could affect future scholarship as well as policy.

Additional information

Includes content by:
  • Martin Kilson
  • Jeffrey M. Schulman
  • Thomas M. Callaghy
  • Robert D. Grey
  • Ndiva Kofele-kale
Publisher: Place of publication:
  • New York
Publication year:
  • 1987


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