Shopping Cart
Capital Cities in Africa

Capital Cities in Africa

Power and powerlessness Capital cities today remain central to both nations and states. They host centres of political power, not only national but, in some cases, regional and global, thus offering major avenues to success, wealth, and privilege. For these reasons, capitals simultaneously become centres of 'counter-power', locations of high-stakes struggles between the government and the opposition. This volume focuses on capital cities in nine sub-Saharan African countries and traces how the power vested in them has evolved through different colonial backgrounds, radically different kinds of regimes after independence, waves of popular protest, explosive population growth and, in most cases, stunted economic development. Starting at the point of national political emancipation, each case study explores the complicated processes of nation-state building through its manifestation in the 'urban geology' of the city its architecture, iconography, layout and political use of urban space. Although the evolution of each of these cities is different, they share a critical demographic feature: an extraordinarily rapid process of urbanisation that is more politically than economically driven. Overwhelmed by the inevitable challenges resulting from this urban sprawl, the governments seated in most of these capital cities are, in effect, both powerful, wielding power over their populace and powerless, lacking the power to implement their plans and to provide for their inhabitants. Concentrating on urban forms of multi-layered power, symbolic and material, Capital Cities in Africa cut a new path in the rich field of studies related to African cities and politics. It will interest scholars in a wide range of disciplines, from political history to sociology to geography, architecture, and urban planning.

Africa Open Access

  • Product Information
  • Format: 240mm x 168mm (Soft Cover)
  • Pages: 264
  • ISBN 13: 978-07969-2350-9
  • Rights: World Rights

Please login to access download links.

Power and powerlessness Capital cities today remain central to both nations and states. They host centres of political power, not only national but, in some cases, regional and global, thus offering major avenues to success, wealth, and privilege. For these reasons, capitals simultaneously become centres of 'counter-power', locations of high-stakes struggles between the government and the opposition. This volume focuses on capital cities in nine sub-Saharan African countries and traces how the power vested in them has evolved through different colonial backgrounds, radically different kinds of regimes after independence, waves of popular protest, explosive population growth and, in most cases, stunted economic development. Starting at the point of national political emancipation, each case study explores the complicated processes of nation-state building through its manifestation in the 'urban geology' of the city its architecture, iconography, layout and political use of urban space. Although the evolution of each of these cities is different, they share a critical demographic feature: an extraordinarily rapid process of urbanisation that is more politically than economically driven. Overwhelmed by the inevitable challenges resulting from this urban sprawl, the governments seated in most of these capital cities are, in effect, both powerful, wielding power over their populace and powerless, lacking the power to implement their plans and to provide for their inhabitants. Concentrating on urban forms of multi-layered power, symbolic and material, Capital Cities in Africa cut a new path in the rich field of studies related to African cities and politics. It will interest scholars in a wide range of disciplines, from political history to sociology to geography, architecture, and urban planning.

Tables and figures
Acronyms and abbreviations
Preface

  1. Introduction (Simon Bekker and Göran Therboro
  2. Conakry (Odile Goerg)
  3. Dakar (Amadou Diop)
  4. Lomé (Philippe Gervais-Lambony)
  5. Lagos (Laurent Fourchard)
  6. Abuja (Wale Adebanwi)
  7. Brazzaville (Gabriel Tati)
  8. Nairobi (Samuel Owuor and Teresa Mbatia)
  9. Maputo and Luanda (Paul Jenkins)
  10. South African capital cities (Alan Mabin)
  11. Conclusion (Gran Therborn and Simon Bekker)

Contributors
Index

Simon Bekker is a South African sociologist who has served as a Professor of Development Studies at Rhodes University and as Director of the Centre for Social and Development Studies at the (then) University of Natal. He is currently an Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the University of Stellenbosch.

Göran Therborn is an international Swedish sociologist who has served as a Professor of Sociology at Cambridge and Uppsala Universities, a Professor of Politics in Nijmegen, Netherlands, and a co-director of the Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences. He has launched a globally comparative project on Cities of Power, focusing on capital cities.

Presets Color

Primary
Secondary