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States and Power in AfricaComparative Lessons in Authority and Control$
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Jeffrey Herbst

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164137

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164137.001.0001

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The Past and the Future of State Power in Africa Revised for the New Paperback Edition

The Past and the Future of State Power in Africa Revised for the New Paperback Edition

(p.251) Nine The Past and the Future of State Power in Africa Revised for the New Paperback Edition
States and Power in Africa

Jeffrey Herbst

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the patterns of state consolidation in Africa over the last several hundred years. A review of the trajectories of states is valuable because many of the fundamental features of African politics have become more understandable. Furthermore, a deep understanding of how states have progressed in Africa offers the opportunity to develop alternatives that might address some of the pathologies from which parts of Africa suffer. The chapter traces the evolution of state power in Africa and the problem of state failure. It also puts African state-building and consolidation in perspective, reflects on the future of state power in the continent, and evaluates alternatives to African states within the current international state system, such as decertifying old states and recognizing new nation-states. The chapter concludes with a discussion of alternatives to the sovereign state.

Keywords:   state consolidation, Africa, politics, states, power, state failure, state-building, nation-states

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