Journal Article

Neither Citizen Nor Subject? ‘Lumpen’ Agency and the Legacy of Native Administration in Sierra Leone

Richard Fanthorpe

in African Affairs

Published on behalf of Royal African Society

Volume 100, issue 400, pages 363-386
Published in print July 2001 | ISSN: 0001-9909
Published online July 2001 | e-ISSN: 1468-2621 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/afraf/100.400.363
Neither Citizen Nor Subject? ‘Lumpen’ Agency and the Legacy of Native Administration in Sierra Leone

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • African Studies
  • International Relations
  • African History
  • Regional Political Studies

GO

Show Summary Details

Preview

The recent conflict in Sierra Leone presents a challenge for analysis. Elite elements have not had the prominence predicted by models of ‘warlord’ political economy, but alternative ethnic or religious nationalisms have yet to come forward to fill the lacunae in state governance. Scholarship focusing on ‘lumpen’ or ‘secular sectarian’ agency only serves to emphasize the conflict's apparent detachment from pre‐war patterns of politics and identity. However, it is argued in this article that long‐term exclusionary processes do in fact underlie these agencies. Here, the central issue is localizing processes of rural sociality. This phenomenon has roots in the pre‐colonial era, but it has been greatly exacerbated by regimes of ‘native administration’ originally imposed by British colonialism. In much of Sierra Leone, de facto citizenship remains a privilege for those domiciled in old villages registered for tax collection. Youths, itinerant workers, and other low status individuals inevitably find themselves in attenuating orders of precedence in access to basic rights and properties. The loss of identity implicit in this process no longer finds a compensating movement in modern education and employment. Here is fertile ground for the rapid growth of ‘lumpen’ agency and perhaps much of the chaos and brutality of the subsequent conflict.

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: African Studies ; International Relations ; African History ; Regional Political Studies

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content. subscribe or login to access all content.