‘Underdevelopment and Dependence in Black Africa: Historical Origin’

Keeping in mind the variety of social, cultural and economic conditions distinguishing African Societies, the author divides the continent into three macro-regions: (1) Africa of the colonial economy (enlarged West Africa) (2) Africa of the concession companies (Congo Basin) (3) Africa of the labor reserves (East and South Africa).The dialectics between colonial policies and social formations and modes of production in ternal to the regions are seen as a major determinant in shaping the history of underdevelopment in Black Africa. On this basis, four historical periods are analyzed : (1) The pre-mercantilist period (2) The mercantilist period (3) The preparatory phase for colonization (4) The colonization period. Concluding the discussion of the colonization period, the author points to the necessity of viewing African socities as dependent, peripheral ones, shaped according to the needs of dominant, capitalist societies.

Women, Gender and Development in Africa

Gender denotes the social prescriptions associated with biological sex in regard to roles, behaviour, appearance, cognition, emotions, and so on. Social relations of gender or gender relations encompass all relationships in which gender subjectivities play a role, including those among people, and between people and the institutions, systems, and processes of development. The chapter describes three features of gender relations that are generally consistent across societies – gender ideologies and mythsgendered division of labor; and unequal power relationships – and discusses their implications for development. The chapter further explains the centrality of gender to the development enterprise and discusses various approaches to integrating gender analysis in development processes.

‘The Days of their Heedless Power Were Over and Done’: Dynamics of Power in the Military Structures of the Precolonial Asante State, 1874–1900

The British surprisingly faced no military resistance when they captured Asante in 1896. Previous works have focused on the agency of actors like Prempe and Frederick Hodgson to explain why. This paper, in contrast, approaches this epoch in Asante history from the context of the sociopolitical power structure within which the precolonial Asante state operated. It asserts that Asante’s independence was contingent on having a strong military. But since it had no standing army, the state used Asante’s ‘social contract’ to coerce its subjects into ad hoc armies to meet military threats. Starting from the 1874 Sagrenti War, however, the state disregarded the social contract. This unleashed a series of events that undermined the state’s power to coerce Asantes into military service. The article posits further that this erosion of the state’s coercive power ultimately prevented it from countering the British with armed resistance in 1896 to maintain independence.