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Title: Rule of experts? : decomposing agency and agendas in Africa's development regime
Author: Da Costa, Peter K. A.
Awarding Body: SOAS, University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis has theoretical as well as empirical goals. Theoretically, it develops a working conceptual framework of an African development regime - an institutional configuration of modern power harnessed by leaders and technocrats ideologically committed to progress. Historically, 'Africa' has been an 'invention', objectified as a continent in crisis and designated the object of external developers. Africans have re-imagined their continent as a distinct geopolitical space, a lived reality of struggles in which unifying discourses of 'Pan-Africanism', 'United States of Africa' and 'African renaissance' project an alternative African geography of power. In this regime, institutional complexes of expertise - Western-trained African experts, their institutions and interactions - play a pivotal role in advancing the hegemony of dominant development ideas. In the process, it is argued, they have the potential to reconfigure power asymmetries and secure expanded policy space towards pursuing a development agenda considered more authentically 'African'. The thesis undertakes a historiographical analysis of Africa's development regime, locating the sub-hegemonic role played by the Economic Commission for Africa, the continent's premier institutional complex of expertise on economic development issues, from 1958 to 2005. Drawing on life histories of key respondents, critical light is shed on how these experts deploy their 'African-ness' alongside recognition as worldclass technocrats to create increased room for manoeuvre. The thesis also examines the African Peer Review Mechanism, a sub-hegemonic political technology advancing the globally hegemonic discourse of 'good governance' that, it is argued, holds the potential to re-order the balance of power.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available