Book Launch with Cocktail Hour
The Commons: Drivers of Change and Opportunities for Africa. 2023: Edition AGENCE FRANÇAISE DE DÉVELOPPEMENT (AFD)
Edited by Stephanie Leyronas, Benjamin Coriat and Kako Nubukpo
Presenter: Stephaine Leyronas (AFD)
This edited volume explores the many forms of development being championed by Africa’s residents, users, and citizens. The purpose of this book, where observation of historical and recent practices converges with new theories within commons scholarship, is not to promote commons themselves. Rather, it examines the tensions, drivers of change, and opportunities that surround commons dynamics in Africa. This book highlights the abundance of commons-based entrepreneurial processes in sub-Saharan Africa and shows that partnerships between African public authorities and communities involved in the commons can be powerful drivers of sustainable development for the continent. To achieve this, public stakeholders must however commit to looking again at their own practices. International funders must also confront their universalist configurations and their “managerialist” processes. If commons are to be supported, positions must be changed for a “commons-based approach” to be implemented. The book explores the contours of such an approach to act as an operational framework for public actors and funders. https://www.afd.fr/en/ressources/commons
Power / Knowledge / Land: Contested Ontologies of Land and Its Governance in Africa, 2022, University of Michigan Press
Laura A. German
Presenter: Laura A. German
The 2008 outcry over the “global land grab” made headlines around the world, leading to a sustained interest in the dynamics and fate of customary land among both academics and development practitioners. In Power/Knowledge/Land, author Laura German profiles the consolidation of a global knowledge regime surrounding land and its governance within international development circles in the decade following this outcry, and the growing enrollment of previously antagonistic actors within it. Drawing theoretical insights on the inseparability of power and knowledge, German reveals the dynamics of knowledge practices that have enabled the longstanding project of commodifying customary land – and the more contemporary interests in acquiring and financializing it – to be advanced and legitimated by capturing the energies of socially progressive forces.
Power/Knowledge/Land takes current scholarly debates surrounding land grabs into contemporary debates surrounding the politics of knowledge, including theories of coloniality and ontological politics. Contrasting dominant land governance discourses with ethnographic writings about situated tenure constructs and relations from across the African continent, and reading both ontologically (with an eye to what land, tenure and security are in these different worlds), German reveals the Western and modernist biases in the narratives that have been advanced about women, custom, and security. In so doing, she demonstrates how the coloniality of knowledge works to grease the wheels of land takings by advancing highly provincialized constructs aligned with western interests as universal truths.