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University Crisis, Student Activism, and the Contemporary Struggle for Democracy in Kenya

Abstract
Abstract:

In many parts of Africa, university systems are in crisis; squalid conditions, student strife, and increasing state violence have turned many campuses into battlegrounds. Through an in-depth look at the Kenyan case, this paper examines some of the deep political dynamics of the current desperate situation. We demonstrate how in Kenya, state–university links involve attempts by higher-level government officials to control campuses through patronage, surveillance, and violence and how institutional configurations facilitate this. As the burden of repression falls on student activists who challenge current power configurations, we examine the current crisis through a student lens. By presenting and analyzing the historical narrative of student activism on campus, we show the inadequacy of overly structural, economic approaches to the crisis favored by the World Bank and some of its critics. Instead, we show the critical importance of understanding how the university crisis is organically linked to wider political processes, including local struggle over democratization of the state and economy.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

Jim Ackers , James Migoli , and Juliana Nzomo . 2001. “Identifying and Addressing the Causes of Declining Participation Rates in Kenyan Primary Schools.” International Journal of Educational Development 21: 361–74.

Korwa Adar . 1999. “Human Rights and Academic Freedom in Kenya's Public Universities: The Case of the Universities' Academic Staff Union.” Human Rights Quarterly 21 (1): 179206.

Stephen Brown . 2001. “Authoritarian Leaders and Multiparty Elections in Africa: How Foreign Donors Help to Keep Kenya's Daniel arap Moi in Power.” Third World Quarterly 22 (5): 725–39.

Cameron Duodu . 1986. “Secret Party Leads to Arrests.” Index on Censorship 15 (6): 18, 3536.

Rees Hughes . 1994. “Legitimation, Higher Education, and the Post-Colonial State: A Comparative Study of India and Kenya.” Comparative Education 30 (3): 193204.

Index on Censorship. 1985. “Nairobi University” 14 (3): 45.

Jacqueline Klopp . 2000. “Pilfering the Public: The Problem of Land-Grabbing in Kenya.” Africa Today 47 (1): 726.

Donald Savage , and Cameron Taylor . 1991. “Academic Freedom in Kenya.” Canadian Journal of African Studies 25 (5): 308–21.

Roger Southall . 1972. “The Politics of Medical Higher Education in East Africa.” Social Science and Medicine 6: 413–24.

Robert Tignor . 1971. “Colonial Chiefs in Chiefless Societies.” Journal of Modern African Studies 9 (3): 399–59.

Kevin Watkins . 1995. The Oxfam Poverty Report. London: Oxfam.

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