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The Politics of Custom – Chiefship, Capital, and the State in Contemporary Africa - Chicago Scholarship Online
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The Politics of Custom: Chiefship, Capital, and the State in Contemporary Africa

John L. Comaroff and Jean Comaroff


How are we to explain the so-called "resurgence" of chiefs – or, more accurately, of indigenous sovereigns – in contemporary Africa, figures who were supposed to disappear with modernity, but are a rising, vocal force in many places across the continent today? What are we to make of the increasingly assertive politics of custom, also long said to be losing its aura under the impact of Universal History? What might both of these things have to do with transformations in the state, the workings of global political economy, and the changing social geography of the planet? These questions have pre ... More

Keywords: chiefship, customary authority, politics of custom, political economy, African politics

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2018 Print ISBN-13: 9780226510767
Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2019 DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226511092.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

John L. Comaroff, editor
Harvard University

Jean Comaroff, editor