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Perspectives on African Studies and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa

  • Leo de Haan

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    In this farewell lecture on the occasion of his departure as Professor of Development in sub-Saharan Africa at Leiden University and Director of the African Studies Centre (ASC), Leiden, the author starts with the vuvuzela issue as an illustration of the lack of confidence the world has in South Africa organizing and running the World Cup smoothly. He takes that as a sign that there still exists a stereotype of African incompetence, despite the social and economic progress Africa has witnessed in the last decade. He does not want to argue that African Studies have not been able to offset such a stereotype. What he tries to show is that it is not clear from the wealth of actor-oriented research in African Studies what the main social, political and economic trends in Africa are. He argues that actor-oriented research in African Studies should try to increase its relevance by contributing — through meta-analyses and comparative research — to the discussion on social, political and economic trends in Africa. Special attention should be paid to the possible rise of the developmental state in Africa. In doing so, African Studies may also substantiate its claim that it is able to challenge the universal pretensions of mainstream social science.

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    Article provided by Institute of African Affairs, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg in its journal Africa Spectrum.

    Volume (Year): 45 (2010)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 95-116

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    Handle: RePEc:gig:afjour:v:45:y:2010:i:1:p:95-116
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    1. World Bank, 2005. "Economic Growth in the 1990s : Learning from a Decade of Reform," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 7370, June.
    2. Sachs, Jeffrey D. & Warner, Andrew M., 1999. "The big push, natural resource booms and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 43-76, June.
    3. Henning Melber, 2005. "Editorial: African Studies: why, what for and by whom?," Africa Spectrum, Institute of African Affairs, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 40(3), pages 369-376.
    4. Kanbur, Ravi, 2001. "Economic Policy, Distribution and Poverty: The Nature of Disagreements," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 1083-1094, June.
    5. Morten Jerven, 2011. "The quest for the African dummy: explaining African post‐colonial economic performance revisited," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 23(2), pages 288-307, March.
    6. Jonathan Di John, 2010. "The Concept, Causes and Consequences of Failed States: A Critical Review of the Literature and Agenda for Research with Specific Reference to Sub-Saharan Africa," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 22(1), pages 10-30, February.
    7. David E. Bloom & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1998. "Geography, Demography, and Economic Growth in Africa," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 29(2), pages 207-296.
    8. Luc Christiaensen & Lionel Demery & Stefano Paternostro, 2003. "Macro and Micro Perspectives of Growth and Poverty in Africa," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 17(3), pages 317-347, December.
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