Africa: Politics and Societies South of the Sahara

About the Incorporation of Identity, the Commodification of Culture

Posted in African Politics, Culture, Global Africa, Reviews by ruben eberlein on September 28, 2009

ethnicityincEthnicity, Inc., the latest publication by John L. and Jean Comaroff, presents comprehensive empirical evidence for one of the latest trends in the Brave New World of neo-liberalism: the commodification of cultural difference and the incorporation of ethnic or national identities. In course of a racy and stirring travel from the Bafokeng in South Africa to the casino capitalism of the Seminole in Florida to Britain, PLC, the anthropologists offer rich material in order to develop their theoretical insights into the working of modern ethno-business and its relationships to global shifts in governance. Read my review of the book in the coming issue of iz3w.

Niger Delta: Bomb Attacks and an Amnesty

Posted in African Politics, Global Africa, Nigeria by ruben eberlein on September 24, 2009

After a massive military intervention, the Nigerian central government wants to pacify the oil-producing Niger Delta with an amnesty. This strategy will most likely fail, but nevertheless prepare the ground for the 2011 elections. Read an updated English version of my text published by Konkret 9/09 here or download the original article as pdf. (more…)

US Policy Towards Somalia: More of the Same, Once Again

Posted in African Politics, Global Africa, Somalia by ruben eberlein on September 15, 2009

gunmansomaliaThe killing of a suspected al Qaeda militant cell leader in Southern Somalia by US special forces is big in the news. French soldiers are also suspected to have taken part in the raid which left several people dead. Taken together with the arms shipment and the finance of weapons acquirements by the US (see Foreign Policy’s report here), nothing points to a new approach of the Obama administration vis-à-vis the war-torn country.

Discussing the Occult, Witchcraft and Religion in Africa

Posted in African Politics, Culture, Global Africa by ruben eberlein on September 13, 2009

An exciting debate is currently under way about the study of beliefs in an invisible world that are widespread in African societies. Terence Ranger started this dispute with a literature review in Africa journal two years ago where he pointed to the affinity between academic works on ‘the occult’ and popular Western ideas about Africa as a backward and superstitious continent. At the Aegis conference in Leipzig, scholars such as Filip de Boeck, Peter Geschiere, Stephen Ellis and Isak Niehaus discussed the matter. The August 09 issue of Africa presents a rejoinder to Ranger by Gerrie ter Haar and Ellis as well as a contribution on that subject by Birgit Meyer.

Nigeria: A Different Bailout Is Possible

Posted in African Politics, Global Africa, Nigeria by ruben eberlein on September 3, 2009

2009-36-cover-a‘The bonus culture must come to an end’, demands the acting chief of European Ministers of Finance, Anders Borg. Nigeria’s Central Bank is far ahead in that regard. Several CEOs of top banks were arrested last week, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) investigates them and several high-profile debtors. Find my text on the issue in the latest edition of Jungle World.