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Africa from the Margins

  • Dorothy L. Hodgson

This article argues for the continued merits of research with rural, long-marginalized peoples, including those whose fervent invocations of ethnic difference—such as Maasai—make many scholars and politicians nervous. Their perspectives “from the margins” offer key theoretical and political insights into this complicated place we call “Africa” by challenging grand narratives of modernization, “Africa rising,” and supposedly “universal” ideas of progress and justice. They also defy enduring stereotypes about the passivity and ignorance of rural peoples. I argue, in other words, for the value of both seeing and theorizing Africa from the margins.

Cet article fait valoir les bénéfices d’une recherche continue avec les peuples ruraux, longtemps marginalisés, y compris ceux dont les appels fervents sur la différence ethnique—comme les Masaï—rendent beaucoup de chercheurs et de responsables politiques nerveux. Leurs points de vue prient “de la marge” donnent des perspectives théoriques et politiques clés dans ce lieu compliqué que nous appelons “Afrique” en contestant les grands récits de la modernisation; “Afrique naissante” et les idées soi-disant de progrès et de justice “Universelles.” Ils défient aussi les stéréotypes persistants concernant la passivité et l’ignorance des populations rurales. J’affirme en d’autres termes, la valeur de voir et de théoriser l’Afrique des marges.

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African Studies Review
  • ISSN: 0002-0206
  • EISSN: 1555-2462
  • URL: /core/journals/african-studies-review
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