African Conflicts and Informal Power by Mats Utas

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In the aftermath of an armed conflict in Africa, the international community both produces and demands from local partners a variety of blueprints for reconstructing state and society. The aim is to re-formalize the state after what is viewed as a period of fragmentation. In reality, African economies and polities are very much informal in character, with informal actors, including so-called Big Men, often using their positions in the formal structure as a means to reach their own goals. Through a variety of in-depth case studies, including the DRC, Sierra Leone and Liberia, African Conflicts and Informal Power shows how important informal political and economic networks are in many of the continent’s conflict areas. Moreover, it demonstrates that without a proper understanding of the impact of these networks, attempts to formalize African states, particularly those emerging from wars, will be in vain.

About Mats Utas

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Matt Utas is Senior Researcher at the Nordic Africa Institute, Uppsala, Sweden.
Published March 8, 2012 by Zed Books. 288 pages
Genres: History, Political & Social Sciences, Business & Economics. Non-fiction

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Utas might well, as Mary Harper has done in her recent book (see Getting Somalia Wrong: Faith, War And Hope In A Shattered State – By Magnus Taylor, and Signs Of Hope In A Shattered State – A Realistic But Empathetic Analysis – Review By Keith Somerville), have pointed to the way that local and i...

Mar 05 2012 | Read Full Review of African Conflicts and Informa...