How one might think Africa otherwise than under the sign of “crisis?” This question is taken up in an exploratory and somewhat provocative manner through a review of the notion of "crisis" as it is presently mobilized in social science narratives across. Through this conceptual exploration, I argue that the concept of crisis -- in the sense of political crisis or economic crisis -- has come to serve as both a metaphor and placeholder in academic and popular discourse in the social sciences generally, and in Africa particularly. Crisis is posited as a way of characterizing “history” itself; it is claimed to serve as a means to access both the significance of history and meaning in history. But, as I aim to show, devoid of heuristic power, “crisis” is a metaphor that is symptomatic of the insufficiencies inherent to contemporary analytics of both politics and economic life. Africa, in particular, is now represented under the sign of crisis, which does little to explain current configurations of political economy on the continent, entailing various modes of producing value and validating modes of regulation, or livelihoods.
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