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The dynamics of power and the rule of law:
Essays on Africa and beyond:
in honour of Emile Adriaan van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal

Wim van Binsbergen, (ed.)
in collaboration with Riekje Pelgrim

Berlin/Muenster: LIT for African Studies Centre,
Leiden, 337 pp., bibliographies,
index of proper names, author index

official publication date: 1st September 2003



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Detailed table of contents

The editor's extensive theoretical introduction

Chapter 8 ‘Then give him to the crocodiles? Violence, state formation, and cultural discontinuity in west central Zambia, 1600-2000 (by Wim van Binsbergen)

Cumulative bibliography for the book as a whole (necessary for the Introduction and Chapter 8)

Notes on contributors

The dynamics of power and the rule of law

Essays on Africa and beyond

in honour of Emile Adriaan B. van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal

Wim van Binsbergen, editor

in collaboration with Riekje Pelgrim

Societies constitute themselves by the historical interplay between the dynamics of power and the rule of law. The African continent has presented numerous intriguing instances of this, particularly during the colonial and postcolonial eras.?

  ?Recent scholarship has realised that traditional rulers (‘kings? ‘chiefs? occupy a pivotal place in the dynamics of power in Africa. Their existence defies the North Atlantic constitutional logic imposed during the colonial period. However, instead of fading into the distance, traditional rulers have asserted themselves as foci of ethnic and regional consciousness, and as bearers of a legitimacy and a judicial power which are underpinned by local cosmological meaning. They control symbolic capital which the nation-state dearly needs. Traditional rulers negotiate with national and international bodies in numerous ways and with varying, often surprising, outcomes. A detailed empirical analysis of this interplay yields a model of the plurality of legitimation, accounting in part for the failure of African postcolonial states and suggesting new, effective ways towards ‘good governance?

  ?In the study of the role of African traditional leaders, the work of Emile Adriaan B. van Rouveroy van Nieuwaal has made a major impact from the 1980s onwards. Drawing upon this inspiration, this collection (marking his retirement from academic life) presents nine case studies of the dynamics of African traditional leadership and its socio-political setting. African and European specialists deal with local situations in countries as diverse as Nigeria, Ghana, Togo, Cameroon, Zambia, Botswana, Tanzania, and South Africa. The debate on the resilience of African chieftainship has particularly been conducted in the field of legal anthropology, and two studies on dispute and legal pluralism add further relief to the emerging argument, whose theoretical implications are pursued in an examina­tion of twentieth-century wars and of ?.11? The introduc­tion first examines van Rou­veroy van Nieuwaal’s career against the background of major trends in African Studies; it subsequently analyses the relation between chiefs and the post-colonial state in terms of legitimation, the zero-sum game model, and agency.

ISBN 3-8258-6785-4



LIT (Berlin/Muenster) for African Studies Centre, Leiden, 2003


Front cover: Chief Mwene Mutondo Chipimbi of the western Nkoya people, Zambia, posing in state, 1991. Note the leopard skin, Conus shell pendant, flyswitch, executioner’s axe, and royal stool. The portrait in top is of the Zambian head of state. (Photo: Jonathan Kapangila?



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