The Politics of Custom: Chiefship, Capital, and the State in Contemporary Africa
John L. Comaroff, Jean Comaroff
University of Chicago Press, Mar 8, 2018 - History - 361 pages
How are we to explain the resurgence of customary chiefs in contemporary Africa? Rather than disappearing with the tide of modernity, as many expected, indigenous sovereigns are instead a rising force, often wielding substantial power and legitimacy despite major changes in the workings of the global political economy in the post–Cold War era—changes in which they are themselves deeply implicated.
This pathbreaking volume, edited by anthropologists John L. Comaroff and Jean Comaroff, explores the reasons behind the increasingly assertive politics of custom in many corners of Africa. Chiefs come in countless guises—from university professors through cosmopolitan businessmen to subsistence farmers–but, whatever else they do, they are a critical key to understanding the tenacious hold that “traditional” authority enjoys in the late modern world. Together the contributors explore this counterintuitive chapter in Africa’s history and, in so doing, place it within the broader world-making processes of the twenty-first century.
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administration African Studies Akan amaMpondo Anthropology apartheid areas Asante Banro Blaise Compaoré brand Burkina Faso Cameroon Cape capital chapter chiefdom chiefly chiefship chieftaincy claims colonial Compaoré conflict contemporary contexts corporate country’s cultural custom customary authority customary law decentralization Democracy democratic economic elections elites ethnic festival forms FRELIMO Geschiere Ghana Ghanaian global gold indigenous rulers indirect rule institutions John Comaroff Journal Kadumwa Karthala Kgosi king king’s KwaZulu-Natal labor land legitimacy Lonmin Luhwindja Mamdani Marikana miners mining modern Mossi Moyo Mozambique mwami mwami kazi naaba neoliberal Nhlapo Commission Ntsebeza Obuasi Oomen Ouagadougou paramount chiefs political postcolonial precolonial president recognition Reform regime ritual role Royal Bafokeng Royal Bafokeng Nation rural Sierra Leone social South Africa sovereignty spirit state’s stool struggle subjects territory Tigo tion traditional authorities traditional leaders traditional leadership Tswana University Press village wami ZANU(PF Zimbabwe Zulu