Second Published Work – African Studies Quarterly

My first book review accepted for publication, but the second to hit the presses, takes a look at Peter Alegi’s Laduma!: Soccer, Politics and Society in South Africa (2010). My review was published in the University of Florida-produced journal, the African Studies Quarterly. This was the second edition of Alegi’s well received book first published in 2004, and updated for this past year’s FIFA World Cup in South Africa.

I had been very interested in the book having just returned from the World Cup in South Africa, but found it to be much more of a historical text about the origins of football in the colonial period and how it progressed up to the 1970s, rather than an analytical text about what soccer has contributed to society. Many of the connections were there, but obviously that part of the text is limited by Alegi’s training as a historian and not a sociologist, or political scientist. However, anyone doing that kind of study would definitely need to use Alegi’s work because, as shown through in the text, his use of original text is one of the highlights of a very interesting book.

You can check out my review here, and the pdf here.

[Update]

My review has been reposted by the University of KwaZulu-Natal Press here and Amazon is selling my review for 10USD!

My First Published Work – IJOC

Yesterday, my first piece of work was published in the International Journal of Communication. It was a book review of Bella Mody’s, Geopolitics of Representation in Foreign News: Explaining Darfur

Currently, it’s the latest book review in IJOC’s Vol 5 of 2011, which you can view at the link above.

The read was very manageable for those interested in communications and media studies. It’s definitely geared towards the academic community because of the use of empirical data from an indexing of seven different country’s media sources: The New York Times, The Washington Post, Le Monde, the Guardian (UK), the People’s Daily, and Al-Ahram. She also examines four online media organizations: BBC.co.uk, English.AlJazeera.net, Mail & Guardian Online, and China Daily

I think it will be a critical book for any students doing media studies going forward, and gives excellent analysis of media firms in the Global South. The amount of data that were included in the appendixes were immense, giving anyone a good first resource for further research.

Click here to read the review in IJOC.


Review of Chieftaincy, the State, and Democracy: Political Legitimacy in Post-Apartheid South Africa


Click Here for: Outline for Book Critique

In J. Michael Williams’ Chieftaincy, the State, and Democracy: Political Legitimacy in Post-Apartheid South Africa, the relationship between the new South Africa’s sources of mixed authority is examined through field research conducted in rural areas in KwaZulu-Natal around the turn of the Millennium. Williams tells of an ongoing struggle in South Africa about political legitimacy between the state and chieftaincy regarding which institution has the right to exert authority in rural areas.

Williams focuses on how the chieftaincy seeks to establish and maintain its political legitimacy with the local population as well as the state in the post-apartheid era. Through comparative case studies he analyzes specifically on how chieftaincy and local populations have negotiated the introduction of specific norms, rules, processes, and institutions that are fundamental to the ANC’s policies of transformation and democratization.Through a framework that Williams calls the multiple legitimacy framework, he seeks to show how the chieftaincy has sought to establish and maintain its authority in the midst of these political changes. With chieftaincy still a central figure in the lives of rural communities in South Africa, the examination of the complexity of the chieftaincy-state and chieftaincy-society relationship that have formed and continue to evolve in the post-apartheid world.

Williams says his analysis is necessary because current assumptions about legitimacy conclude that power will eventually reside in the government as democracy and local government become more ingrained in society. He uses his framework in understanding the results from three case studies in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal and supplements the data with national economic and survey data from other authors in the field. While stopping short of drawing empirical generalizations, he seeks to use his analysis to tell the story of real South Africans who deal with the struggles of the post-apartheid political structure in their daily lives.

Continue reading

Untapped – The Scramble for Africa’s Oil

Untapped, written by John Ghazvinian, was an excellent introduction to what the author refers to as the ‘Second Scramble for Africa’. Ghazvinian jaunts about AfricaUntapped exploring and investigating the current and future oil producers of the continent and provides a comprehensive overview on the potential for success or failure facing African petrostates. Reading as part – travel journal, part – socio/economic/political analysis, Ghazvinian has provided the ideal book for anyone wishing to understand the history and current happenings of the African states of Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, The Congo, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe, Angola, and Equatorial Guinea. His insightful investigating shows how he talked with just about anyone and everyone that was impacted by oil in Africa. From the Oil Execs at the super majors (ExxonMobil, Shell, BP, etc) to the politicians, to the rural villagers adversely affected by the drilling, everyone has the voice heard in Untapped

Before reading Untapped, I knew how oil was impacting the outlook of the continent, but never heard the details of the dealings between the supermajors in the oil business and how they dealt with national governments and their populations. These revealing stories that Ghazvinian tells in his book should be of particular interest to those who wish to see how oil is interacting with the national politics of many African nations.

The book is a must read for anyone interested in the continent of the Oil Producing business, but is critical for anyone researching potential national security concerns for those countries of the West. As Ghazvinian shows in  the book, the cheque book of the Chinese could replace some of the stalwarts in international finance such as the IMF and the World Bank when it comes to dealing with aid in Africa. For so long the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank have attached strict conditions to any aid or loans received by African governments from these two institutions. With the Chinese government willing to attach significant aid packages, without any preconditions or stipulations, to their bids on oil blocks, the dynamics in Africa could change significantly for the worse. Or rather more frightening may remain just as corrupt as they currently stand. However, another perspective could be put forth that less outside interference from Monetary Institutions and Foreign governments could lead to a greater degree of sovereignty for these African petro-states. However, if they continue to degrade the democracy that exists, or block the voices and concerns of their own citizens, the world must be seriously concerned about the use of petrodollars to pad politicians’ bank accounts and the purchasing of military equipment.

Ghazavinian makes no subjective judgements on the African leaders and the actions of the Oil Companies, which makes the book such a strong review of the continent’s ‘black gold’. However, the overall tone that is found from the book says that if significant changes are not made by the way African petrostates spend and use their money from oil profits, the ‘Dutch Disease’ and ‘curse of oil’ will propagate throughout these oil producing states benefitting the wallets of the gas guzzling West and corrupt African politicians rather than any improvement in the lives of those Africans living on less than $1 a day.

Academic Resource:

Untapped has a solid index, from which to quickly surf the book’s contents, but what sets this book apart is the solid list of sources and further reading that Ghazvinian provides at the end. A map showing his visited countries is in the front of the book, which proves useful for those unfamiliar with the region, but no other media is presented. A quick read due to Ghzavinian’s writing style should make it very accessible for students needing to use it as a resource

Overall Rating: A