Book Reviews

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    Book Review – Volunteer Economies: The Politics and Ethics of Voluntary Labour in Africa, edited by Ruth Prince and Hannah Brown

Book Review – Volunteer Economies: The Politics and Ethics of Voluntary Labour in Africa, edited by Ruth Prince and Hannah Brown

LSE’s Jordan Vieira describes the book as a valuable contribution to the study of Africa that showcases the many benefits of situating ethnographic work within its historical, socio-political, and economic contexts.

 

‘Volunteering’ has been an increasingly prevalent mode of activity around the world for a myriad of reasons, and Africa’s changing social configurations make for a rich field in which […]

  • Permalink The Atlantic Ocean, Lagos, Nigeria.
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    Book review- Nation on Board: Becoming Nigerian at Sea by Lynn Schler

Book review- Nation on Board: Becoming Nigerian at Sea by Lynn Schler

Jochen Lingelbach recommends this book as an accessible labour history and a convincing bottom-up perspective on decolonisation.

Seamen seem to be the romantic, rebellious and cosmopolitan characters par excellence. The unruly world of pirates and sailors in the Revolutionary Atlantic appears to be a breeding ground for political change. Some of this echoes in Lynn Schler’s history of Nigerian seamen, […]

  • Permalink Maputo, Mozambique.

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    Book review – The Rise of Africa’s Middle Class: Myths, Realities and Critical Engagements, by Henning Melber(ed.)

Book review – The Rise of Africa’s Middle Class: Myths, Realities and Critical Engagements, by Henning Melber(ed.)

The Rise of Africa’s Middle Class: Myths, Realities and Critical Engagements seeks to wrestle back the African middle class debate from the Afro-optimists with mixed success, according to LSE’s Rebecca Simson.

 

Over the last few years a flurry of reports and articles by international organisations, private firms and the media have celebrated the growth of Africa’s middle class. Many predict […]

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    Book Review – We, the People: Insights of an Activist Judge by Albie Sachs

Book Review – We, the People: Insights of an Activist Judge by Albie Sachs

Those looking for an antidote to the current political tumult might find solace in the personal reflections of Albie Sachs, a lawyer and activist who helped to shape, and later interpret, South Africa’s constitution, says Nick Branson.

In a context of persistent inequality, mass unemployment, and allegations of corruption at the highest levels of government, South Africa’s post-apartheid settlement […]

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    Book Review – Pioneers of the Field: South Africa’s Women Anthropologists by Andrew Bank

Book Review – Pioneers of the Field: South Africa’s Women Anthropologists by Andrew Bank

Anne Heffernan says this book represents an important contribution to the history of social anthropology by reclaiming the place of its foremothers.

Andrew Bank opens his new monograph, Pioneers of the Field: South Africa’s Women Anthropologists, in the anthropology corridor of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits). Bank describes this hallway as lined with a ‘fictitious lineage’ of portraits of […]

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    Book Review: Malawi’s Lost Years (1964-1994): And Her Forsaken Heroes by Kapote Mwakasungura and Douglas Miller

Book Review: Malawi’s Lost Years (1964-1994): And Her Forsaken Heroes by Kapote Mwakasungura and Douglas Miller

Calum Fisher analyses the strengths and weaknesses of Malawi’s Lost Years (1964-1994) by highlighting the authors’ personal experiences, and their uncompromising view of the country’s still-divisive founding President.

“Malawi,” so the old joke went, “is a one-man-Banda.” Known abroad, if at all, as apartheid South Africa’s sole black African ally and for his eccentric public policies (beards were […]

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    Book Review: Humour, Silence and Civil Society in Nigeria by Ebenezer Obadare

Book Review: Humour, Silence and Civil Society in Nigeria by Ebenezer Obadare

Humour, Silence and Civil Society in Nigeria is a rich and highly readable meditation on overlooked aspects of public life in Nigeria, says LSE’s Portia Roelofs.
 

In Humour, Silence and Civil Society in Nigeria Ebenezer Obadare, Professor of Sociology at the University of Kansas, argues that “real civil society has to be sought … outside the professionalised third sector, and often […]

  • Permalink Road between Bujumbura and Gitega

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    Book review – Burundi: The Biography of a Small African Country by Nigel Watt

Book review – Burundi: The Biography of a Small African Country by Nigel Watt

LSE’s Richard Stupart recommends this book to anyone wanting an introduction to the major themes in Burundian politics and history, or an overview of the kinds of organisations involved in conflict resolution, democracy building and development.

To say that Burundi is ignored in the fields of development, political science, and other endeavours focused on Africa is to state the obvious. […]

Book Review – Nyerere: The Early Years by Thomas Molony

LSE’s Richard Stupart says this book offers a detailed, entertaining account of the life and ideas of one of Africa’s greatest statesmen.

Bringing together a range of previously-unconsidered sources on the early life and education of independent Tanzania’s first leader, Nyerere: The Early Years adds complexity to a story often told more as a hagiography. A senior lecturer in African […]

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    Book review: Participatory planning for climate compatible development in Maputo, Mozambique

Book review: Participatory planning for climate compatible development in Maputo, Mozambique

This book is accessible in the best sense of the term and yet offers complex ideas and challenges to traditional planning norms that have shaped a geography of vulnerability across Maputo, says Jonathan Silver.

The climate crisis is not an uncertain future or purely scientific debate but a frighteningly real present that particularly threatens coastal, low-lying cities that an estimated […]

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