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Abstract

From the colonial period onwards, there has been a marked expansion in the range of formal and informal institutions enforcing regimes of law and social order across Africa. At the same time, practices and ideas about law, justice, policing and professionalism have proliferated, drawing on a diverse range of influences. This themed part issue explores the lived realities of law and social order in colonial and postcolonial Africa. Building on a rich and growing literature, the articles examine how diverse actors such as ‘ordinary’ citizens, the police and legal professionals understand, enact and contest ideas about law and social order. The articles that follow adopt different disciplinary perspectives and draw on fieldwork from Nigeria, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The papers also illustrate how thinking about law and social order can cast a light on important themes for Africanist scholars, such as processes of formal and informal institutionalization on the continent and the public's investment in such institutions.

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References
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Boege V., Brown A., Clements K. and Nolan A. (2008) On Hybrid Political Orders and Emerging States: state formation in the context of ‘fragility’. Berlin: Berghof Research Centre for Constructive Conflict Management.
Goodfellow T. and Lindemann S. (2013) ‘The clash of institutions: traditional authority, conflict and the failure of “hybridity” in Buganda’, Commonwealth and Comparative Politics 51 (1): 326.
Jensen S. (2008) ‘Policing Nkomazi: crime, masculinity and generational conflicts’ in Sen A. and Pratten D. (eds) Global Vigilantes. New York NY: Columbia University Press.
Lund C. (2006) ‘Twilight institutions: public authority and local politics in Africa’, Development and Change 37 (4): 685705.
Rossi B. (2004) ‘Order and disjuncture: theoretical shifts in the anthropology of aid and development’, Current Anthropology 45 (4): 556–60.
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Africa
  • ISSN: 0001-9720
  • EISSN: 1750-0184
  • URL: /core/journals/africa
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