Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa by Naomi Chazan, Peter Lewis, Robert Mortimer, Donald

By Naomi Chazan, Peter Lewis, Robert Mortimer, Donald Rothchild, Stephen John Stedman

Publication through Chazan, Naomi, Lewis, Peter, Mortimer, Robert, Rothchild, Donald, Stedman, Stephen John

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On this basis, it is possible to identify diverse processes and to venture explanations for these differences. o The Selection of Strategies At independence, individual Africans, social groups, and government agencies had to deal simultaneously with the need to define their identities, consolidate their positions, assure their access to resources, interact with each other, delimit the parameters of their autonomy, augment their productive capacities, and confront the outside world. Although communities and institutions, leaders and citizens, producers and managers brought different tools to bear on these nearly overwhelming tasks and often had contradictory objectives in mind, they all shared in the ongoing effort to find ways to adjust to changing and uncertain circumstances.

The limits of state power have yet to be defined and its relative significance adequately assessed. The statist approach has, therefore, somewhat ironically, highlighted the external supports and the personal character of the postcolonial African state at the expense of a closer analysis of state organization and interactions with other social institutions. Although patrimonial relations and authority structures have been scrutinized at some length, the connection between public institutions and specific social groups has yet to be fully explored.

Each colonial power, in its own way, de- 28 Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa veloped a local stratum that could provide the personnel necessary to carry out the imperatives of rule. Educational institutions helped to transmit muchneeded skills and to lay the foundations for the development of human resources capable of managing the multiple needs of societies in the process of rapid change. Colonial education, although introducing new criteria for social mobility, was highly selective.

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