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1 Introduction: African Social Movements Or Social Movements In Africa?

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Chapter Summary

African states in general are particularly vulnerable to external pressures of various sorts in Africa. The international human-rights discourse has provided inspiration and moral legitimation for a range of causes, including the campaign against slavery in Mauritania and that against blood diamonds in Sierra Leone. Many social movements in Africa are dependent on funding from external donors. Related but distinct is the relationship between social movements in Africa and African diaspora communities in the rest of the world. The most extreme example in Africa today is Somalia, and Jon Abbink?s chapter on the Islamic Courts Union in Somalia raises the interesting question of whether it is actually permissible to speak of social movements in the effective absence of a state. By the 1990s, it had become received wisdom in social movement theory that an earlier generation of social movements had been succeeded by a generation of so-called ?new social movements?.

Keywords: Africa; African diaspora; human-rights; Sierra Leone; social movements; Somalia

10.1163/ej.9789004180130.i-260.5
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