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This is a book of theory written from Africa. Its concern is the development of concepts for an understanding of emancipatory politics in Africa in particular, and in the Third World in general. `Politics' here means consciousness, ideology, practice, choices and thought. The two core concepts which the book develops are the idea of `excess' and that of `political sequence'. These are both made necessary by the underlying commitment to the axiom that `people think' - that people are capable of thinking rationally beyond their interests as de?ned by their social location within a matrix of social relations regulated by the state. Drawing on the work of Alain Badiou and Sylvain Lazarus, the category of the sequence is used to provide an alternative to historicism in which `politics' exists only as historical sequences which are discontinuous.
These concepts are deployed variously in the history of anti-colonial and national liberation struggles and in contemporary experiences on the African continent. The book asserts that Africans, rather than having simply been the victims of modern history, have contributed to the universal history of humanity and continue to do so in original and inventive ways which provide important pointers for thinking human emancipation worldwide in the 21st century.
Thinking freedom in Africa: Toward a theory of emancipatory politics
Foreword by Ernest Wamba-dia-Wamba; Preface; Acknowledgements; General Introduction: Politics is thought, thought is real, people think; Part One Understanding Subjective Political Sequences; From African History to African Historical Sequences; Theoretical Introduction: understanding historical political sequences; Chapter 1 From Saint Domingue to Haiti and the Politics of Equality: The Human Freedom Mode of Politics and its Afterlives 1791 - 1796, 1804 - 1960; Chapter 2 Are Those-who-do-not-count Capable of Reason? On the limits of historical thought; Chapter 3 The National Liberation Struggle Mode of Politics in Africa 1945 - 1975; Chapter 4 South Africa and the People's Power Mode of Politics 1984 - 1986; Chapter 5 From Emancipatory Nationalism to National Chauvinism in South Africa: 1973 - 2013; Chapter 6 Rethinking Militancy and Popular Politics; Conclusion to Part One: Understanding Fidelity to the South African Emancipatory Event: the Treatment Action Campaign and Abahlali baseMjondolo; Part Two Opening up the Thought of Politics in Africa Today - Exceeding the Limits of Sociology beyond Representation Theoretical Introduction: social representation, modes of rule and political prescriptions; Chapter 7 Marxism and the Politics of Representation: the 'agrarian question' and the limits of political economy; Chapter 8 Thinking beyond Representation, Acting beyond Representation: understanding worker subjectivities in South Africa toda; Chapter 9 Renaming the State in Africa today; Chapter 10 State Domains of Politics and Systemic Violence in Africa today; Chapter 11 Rethinking the Domain of Civil Society and its Politics; Chapter 12 Rethinking the Domain of Traditional Society and its Politics; Conclusion to Part Two: Toward a Politics of Solidarity; General Conclusion: Constituting the Domain of Freedom: thinking politics at a distance from the state; Bibliography; Index.