Self-determination and national self-determination : the marriage between macro international relations (IR) and micro historical sociologies as a framework for understanding Africa.
This thesis argues that while the evolution of the African Political Community is based
upon both human physiological needs and historical developments, modernity and its
challenges and impositions, which are constantly changing the 'memories', imagination and
re-imagination of the desires of the human species, also influence it. These desires for
collective dignity and respect both as desires in themselves and as vehicles to secure and
protect first-order needs have been articulated by David Mitrany's Functional theory of
politics. However, in his work, A Working Peace System (1946), Mitrany missed the
human and political preconditions and contingencies of Functionalism. He failed to
recognise that needs and desires while central in the evolution of political communities
cannot by themselves guarantee the success of such communities. In the case of the
African continent and its people, it is the authentic articulation of Functionalism, based on
the Spiritual basis of identity - the 'cyclical' link between 'the living dead - (ancestors)" 'the
living - (present generations), and 'the many generations (future children) yet to be born'
and their relationship to the geographical space - called Homeland, - what I have described
as Ntu, which forms the African conception of nationality that facilitates success.
Therefore, the success of African Political Communities is only possible on the basis of
satisfied needs and placated desires which incorporate a Spiritual basis of identity, - what I
have described as 'physiological security'. Thus, a circle is drawn, both in this theoretical
statement and also, in the framework of African political history that has escaped what I
have called the prevailing paradigm of African discourse. The framework, which I
illustrate in this thesis, would make more rigorous the teHing of African History - which I
agree, has become more sympathetic and elegant (Davidson, 1994: Oliver, 1991). The
thesis introduces an African-centred social science paradigm with International Relations -
IR as a discipline, at its centre, based on Understanding Africa through the marrying of a
macro International Relations (IR) approach and the concerns of micro historical
sociologies. This stands as an alternative to those approaches which, aim at explaining the
continent as a site of resistance to an external world. The project also introduces a theory
of Functional politics aimed at African continental integration based on the ideals of the
African Economic Community - AEC (Abuja) Treaty of 1991.