By Karin Dokken (auth.)
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Extra info for African Security Politics Redefined
The classical theories also refer extensively to Max Weber’s definition of the modern state, which emphasizes three main aspects of the state: its territoriality, its monopoly of the means of physical violence, and its legitimacy. Weber argues that if a state lacks monopoly of the legitimate use of force within a given territory, anarchy will ensue. As we will discuss in Chapter 2, the African states do not fit in with these classical pictures of what a state should be. African states operate in a field between a legal and bureaucratic/rational framework and a personbased framework.
From this perspective, postcolonial political and economic structures in Africa are regarded as failures. In contrast, Bayart proposes a view of African politics in which internal realities predominate, where corruption, specifically, is viewed as a complex, fluid phenomenon with roots in both past and present and shaped by basic issues of survival. The concept “the politics of the belly” (la politique du ventre) is borrowed from Cameroon. “In Cameroon they [ . . , xvii). Bayart continues by writing that [w]e should be aware of the various shades of the meaning of the phrase ‘politics of the belly’.
In The State in Africa: Politics of the Belly, Bayart (1993) analyzes the strategies of accumulation that have emerged across the African continent to consolidate power and to create a foundation of sorts for the nationstate. According to Bayart, Western observers have misconstrued the nature of African politics by trying to apply explanatory models on the basis of external political systems. From this perspective, postcolonial political and economic structures in Africa are regarded as failures.