A coxian analysis of key trends in Sub-Saharan Africa's political economy, 2000-2011

Hamblin, Vicky (2012-03)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2012.

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ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This is a theoretical study that appraises the nature and dimensions of Sub-Saharan Africa's (SSA's) political economy and the forces that underpin them, using a Coxian framework of analysis. Since 2000 the nature of SSA's political economy has been changing. Emergent trends and shifts in the region‟s political economy, including strong economic growth performances and increasing South-South cooperation, appear in contradiction to a dependent and conflict ridden depiction portrayed by most literature on SSA. From a Coxian perspective, it is contended in this study that these changes in SSA's political economy have arisen because of systemic changes occurring in the international system. At the same time, the study acknowledges that SSA's political economy is infused with dependence that can be identified through exploring the historical context of the twentieth century that shaped it. The majority of scholarly literature written on SSA has focused on humanitarian crises, poverty, war, corruption and conflict. In addition, mainstream International Relations (IR) and International Political Economy (IPE) theory largely overlook SSA. The majority of those that explore SSA's place in world politics have failed to contextualise SSA's position within the context of structural changes occurring in the international system. This has resulted in mainstream IR and IPE paradigms being inadequate to provide explanations for emergent trends in SSA's political economy. Exploration and analysis of mainstream IR and IPE theories and Africa's epistemological and ontological requirements directed the study towards selecting a narrowed Coxian Critical Theory (CCT) framework to further explore SSA's political economy. Using the CCT theoretical tools of 'historical structures' and 'hegemony' in the international system, the study explores: What have been the key trends prevalent in SSA’s political economy from 2000-2011 and how have these been shaped by structural changes in the international system? Does the nature of SSA’s political economy between 2000 and 2011 give scope for SSA’s conditions of dependence to alter? A historicised approach in line with CCT allows for exploration of SSA's conditions of dependence through identifying the key ideas, institutions and material capabilities pertinent to SSA's political economy in the twentieth century. The main trends of SSA's political economy from 2000 to 2011 include: a resilient economic and political performance in the face of the financial crisis of 2007 to 2010; increasing engagement with emerging powers resulting in being typified as the 'swing continent'; and different ideas and new approaches with regards to development thinking and the role and nature of institutions. These trends have been highly influenced by the structural change in relative material capabilities from traditional to emerging powers during this decade. The specific use of CCT as a framework has provided the means to analyse the fluid interactions between the key forces in SSA's political economy and the international system, allowing analysis of the possibility of SSA's conditions of dependency to alter. However, this is contingent on factors such as the desire of African leaders and policymakers to end the conditions of dependence. The study identifies the scope and limitations of Coxian analysis for understanding trajectories in SSA's political economy.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie is 'n teoretiese studie wat die aard en die omvang van sub-Sahara Afrika (SSA) se politieke ekonomie en die kragte wat dit beïnvloed ondersoek, deur gebruik te maak van 'n Coxiaanse (Coxian) ontledingsraamwerk. Sedert die jaar 2000 het die aard van SSA se politieke ekonomie begin verander. Verskuiwings en tendense in die streek se politieke ekonomie, insluitende sterk ekonomiese groeisyfers en 'n toename in Suid-Suid samewerking, strook nie met die beeld van 'n afhanklike en geweld geteisterde gebied wat dikwels in die literatuur oor SSA verskyn nie. Hierdie studie voer aan, vanuit 'n Coxiaanse oogpunt, dat sulke veranderinge in SSA se politieke ekonomie hul oorsprong het in sistemiese verskuiwinge in die internasionale bestel. Terselfdertyd, word dit aanvaar dat SSA se politieke ekonomie wel aspekte van afhanklikheid toon, veral wanneer die 20ste eeu in oënskou geneem word. Meeste akademiese literatuur oor SSA plaas die fokus op humanitêre krisisse, armoede, oorlog, korrupsie en konflik. Daarbenewens het hoofstroom Internationale Betrekinge (IB) en Internasionale Politieke Ekonomie (IPE) hoofsaaklik SSA oor die hoof gesien, terwyl dié wat SSA se plek in die internasionale sisteem ondersoek, dikwels daarin faal om SSA se posisie in die konteks van strukturele veranderinge in die internasionale stelsel te ontleed. Dit het IB en IPE paradigmas tot gevolg wat onvoldoende is om ontluikende tendense in SSA te verklaar. Daar is dus tekortkominge in hoofstroom IB en IPE teorieë. Terselfdertyd stel ontleding van SSA epistemologiese en ontologiese vereistes. Derhalwe gebruik hierdie studie 'n nouCoxiaanse Kritiese Teoretiese (CKT) raamwerk om SSA se politieke ekonomie dieper te ondersoek. Deur gebruik te maak van CKT se teoretiese gereedskap, historiese strukture en hegemonie in die internasionale stelsel, ondersoek die studie die volgende vraag: Wat is die belangrikste tendense wat voorkom in SSA se politieke ekonomie vanaf 2000-2011 en hoe is hierdie tendense gevorm deur die strukturele veranderinge in die internasionale stelsel? Ook, bied die aard van SSA se politieke ekonomie tussen 2000 en 2011 ruimte vir SSA se omstandighede van afhanklikheid om te verander? 'n Gehistoriseerde aanslag in lyn met CKT maak voorsiening vir die verkenning van SSA se omstandighede van afhanklikheid deur die identifisering van die belangrikste idees, instellings en materiële vermoëns wat betrekking het op SSA se politieke ekonomie in die twintigste eeu. Van die hoof tendense in SSA se politieke ekonomie tussen 2000 tot 2011 sluit in: sterk ekonomiese en politieke prestasie ten spyte van die finansiële krisis van 2007-2010; toenemende betrokkenheid deur opkomende magte wat daartoe lei tot Afrika bekend te staan as die 'swaai kontinent'; en, nuwe begrippe en idees oorontwikkeling, sowel as oor die rol en aard van instellings. Hierdie tendense is sterk beïnvloed deur strukturele veranderinge die afgelope decade in die relatiewe én materiële bevoegdhede van tradisionele en ontluikende magte. Die gebruik van CKT laat ontleding van die wisselwerking tussen sleutelmagte in SSA se politieke ekonomie toe, wat gevolglik ook analise van potensiële verandering in SSA se afhanklikheid moontlik maak. Of afhanklikheid wel beeindig sal word, hang onder meer af van die bereidheid van Afrika-leiers en beleidmakers om daad by die woord te voeg. Die studie bepaal die bydrae en beperkinge van Coxiaanse analise vir 'n begrip van die trajek wat SSA se politieke ekonomie inneem.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/20235
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