Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

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.

Résumé:

Dans plusieurs régions de l'Afrique, le système universitaire est en crise: conditions sordides, conflits étudiants, et violences croissantes de la part de l'état ont transformé bien des campus en champs de bataille. A travers une étude approfondie du cas du Kenya, cet article examine certaines des dvnamiques politiques de fond dans la situation désespérée actuelle. Nous démontrons comment à l'Université d'État du Kenya, il existe des liens impliquant des tentatives de contrôle du campus par des personnalités gouvernementales et officielles haut placées, à travers un système de népotisme, de surveillance et de violence, et comment la configuration des institutions facilite ces pratiques. Alors que le poids de la répression retombe sur les étudiants activistes qui remettent en question les configurations actuelles du pouvoir, nous examinons la crise actuelle à travers la vision de ces étudiants. En présentant et en analysant leur histoire de l'activisme étudiant sur le campus, nous démontrons comment les approches trop structurales et économiques favorisées par la Banque Mondiale et certains de ses critiques se révèlent inadéquates pour comprendre cette crise. Nous montrons plutôt l'importance cruciale de comprendre comment la crise des universités est liée de manière organique à de plus larges processus politiques, y compris aux luttes locales pour la démocratisation de l'état et de l'économie.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      University Crisis, Student Activism, and the Contemporary Struggle for Democracy in Kenya
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      University Crisis, Student Activism, and the Contemporary Struggle for Democracy in Kenya
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      University Crisis, Student Activism, and the Contemporary Struggle for Democracy in Kenya
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Linked references
Hide All

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.

Paul Mosley . 1986. “The Politics of Economic Liberalization: USAID and the World Bank in Kenya, 1980–84.” African Affairs 85 (338): 107–19.

H. W. O. Okoth-Ogendo 1972. “The Politics of Constitutional Change in Kenya since Independence, 1963–69African Affairs 71 (282): 924.

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.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

African Studies Review
  • ISSN: 0002-0206
  • EISSN: 1555-2462
  • URL: /core/journals/african-studies-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 239 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 435 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 21st September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.