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In this innovative study, Ben Jones argues that scholars too often assume that the state is the most important force behind change in local political communities in Africa. Studies look to the state, and to the impact of government reforms, as ways of understanding processes of development and change. Using the example of Uganda, regarded as one of Africa's few "success stories", Jones chronicles the insignificance of the state and the marginal impact of Western development agencies. Extensive ethnographic fieldwork in a Ugandan village reveals that it is churches, the village court, and organizations based on family and kinships obligations that represent the most significant sites of innovation and social transformation.Groundbreaking and critical in turn, Beyond the State offers a new anthropological perspective on how to think about processes of social and political change in poorer parts of the world. It should appeal to anyone interested in African development.
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Ben Jones is Lecturer in Social Policy at the London School of Economics
Celebrates the role and triumph of culture and religion and instruments of social cohesion which have become... channels of social transformation.' - The Ugandan Daily Monitor'A very readable book and one that challenges current development discourses with good ethnography and historical scholarship. It is a book that will be particularly useful for teaching in undergraduate courses and in postgraduate seminars... And it is essential reading for students of Uganda, and indeed for students of Africa.' -- Michael Whyte, African Studies Review'An attractive option for classroom use.... Advanced undergraduate students in anthropology, history, and development studies would find much to value in this text. Graduate students and specialists will also appreciate Jones' ability to integrate sophisticated theoretical arguments into a compelling ethnohistorical analysis.' -- Alicia Decker, International Journal of African Historical Studies
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