Handbook of Political Citizenship and Social Movements
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Handbook of Political Citizenship and Social Movements

Edited by Hein-Anton van der Heijden

This Handbook uniquely collates the results of several decades of academic research in these two important fields. The expert contributions successively address the different forms of political citizenship and current approaches and recent developments in social movement studies. Salient social movements in recent history are explored in depth, covering the environmental, women’s, international human rights, urban, Tea Party, and animal rights movements. Social movements and political citizenship in the ‘global South’: China, India, Africa, and the Arab World, are discussed, presenting a novel empirical insight into these fields of study.
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Chapter 25: Social movements and political citizenship in Africa

Patrick Bond


Is Africa ‘rising’ as a great new economic power, or is the continent better seen as witnessing early – and potentially widespread – ‘uprisings’, in a context of worsening economic conditions (understood in the broadest sense), as climate catastrophe also bears down on a billion Africans? Reading the business press, one would not know that Africa is losing an estimated 6 per cent of its wealth each year, thanks to the ‘resource curse’. You would be forgiven for having the opposite impression when reading most reports from elite Afro-optimists, namely those with proglobalization, export-oriented, petro-minerals–centric economic ideologies, especially because these reports invariably ignore the dangers to most African countries from climate change, and because they discount social unrest. For example, most multilateral financial institutions celebrate Africa’s national economies as among the world’s leading cases of ‘recovery’ after the 2008–09 meltdown, and most (though not all) ignore signs of growing discontent. The neoliberal position neglects several dangers that have made Africa’s supposedly resilient economies far more vulnerable to both global and local economic and environmental crises, and hence neoliberals cannot comprehend social movement resistances now developing in response.

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