Real Governance and Practical Norms in Sub-Saharan Africa: The game of the rules, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Real Governance and Practical Norms in Sub-Saharan Africa

The game of the rules, 1st Edition

Edited by Tom De Herdt, Jean-Pierre OLIVIER de SARDAN


268 pages | 4 B/W Illus.

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Although international development discourse considers the state as a crucial development actor, there remains a significant discrepancy between the official norms of the state and public services and the actual practices of political elites and civil servants.

This text interrogates the variety of ways in which state policies and legal norms have been translated into the set of practical norms which make up real governance in sub-Saharan Africa. It argues that the concept of practical norms is an appropriate tool for an ethnographic investigation of public bureaucracies, interactions between civil servants and users, and the daily functioning of the state in Africa. It demonstrates that practical norms are usually different from official norms, complementing, bypassing and even contradicting them. In addition, it explores the positive and negative effects of different aspects of this ‘real governance’.

This text will be of key interest to academics, students and researchers in the fields of development, political science, anthropology and development studies, African studies, international comparative studies, implementation studies, and public policy.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction: the game of the rules Tom De Herdt & Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan Part I A New Concept? 2 Informal regulations of public bureaucracies in Africa and beyond: practical norms as an exploratory concept Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan 3 Traditionalist Africanist culturalism: Analysis of a scientific ideology and a plea for an empirically grounded concept of culture Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan 4 Hybrid orders and practical norms: a Weberian view Tom De Herdt Part II Real Governance in Practice 5Juggling with the norms. Everyday practice in an emergency service in Niger Eric Hahonou 6 The King is not a kinsman; Multiple accountabilities in the postcolonial State in Africa Giorgio Blundo 7 Ethnography of everyday ethics in a South African Medical Ward Frédéric Le Marcis and Julien Grard 8 Local prison governance with global human rights – the merging of professional and practical norms in Ugandan prisons Tomas Max Martin 9 The evolution of practical norms through bricolage: ‘good’ local water governance in Zimbabwe Frances Cleaver 10 Evident but elusive: practical norms in the gold sector in South-Kivu, Democratic Republic of Congo Sara Geenen 11 Beyond Corruption. The everyday life of a court of the peace in the Democratic Republic of Congo Benjamin Rubbers and Emilie Gallez

About the Editors

Tom De Herdt is Senior Lecturer in political and institutional aspects of development and Chair of the Institute of Development Policy and Management, University of Antwerp.

Jean-Pierre Olivier de Sardan is Senior Researcher at LASDEL, Niamey, Niger, Professor of Anthropology at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Marseilles and Emeritus Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in African Politics and International Relations

The African Politics and International Relations series seeks to provide readers with a conceptual and comparative perspective on transformations associated with the rise of Africa in international relations and within the global economy. The series explores the empirical and theoretical implications of the engagement of both old and new players, the redefinition of the continent's politics, socio-economic transitions and changing patterns of region-building, both within Africa and with the global South. The series, through its focus on the reappraisal of the role and conception of African agency, seeks to provide readers with a comprehensive, accessible, and insightful treatment of issues that challenge conventional understandings and representations of Africa.

Contact: [email protected]

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