What African voice? The politics of publishing Africa in IR

Fourie, Mieke (2011-03)

Thesis (MA)--University of Stellenbosch, 2011.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Despite the validity of arguments highlighting the inadequacy of existing theories to explain Third World and specifically African realities, criticism has perpetuated, rather than disarmed, status quo theories. This is because focus on (and thus within) the existing conceptual framework has impeded vision beyond these barriers, thereby hampering the formation of new, more applicable theories. The intellectual balance of power and methodological hegemony of the West is perpetuated, on the African continent through Western monopoly over course content in tertiary education as well as the preferences of publishers for Africanist rather than African contributions. This study provides a critical assessment of scholarly dominance on the topic of Africa in order contribute to a greater understanding of the dynamics acting to exclude non-Western ideas and experiences from the IR narrative. The study provides a content analysis of 25 peer-rated influential journals publishing IR content for the period January 2000 to August 2010. The aim was to identify dominant themes and scholars on the topic of Africa in IR. General biographical information on the five highest ranking scholars in terms of publication exposure was gathered in order to assess networks of academic and professional affiliation that could have contributed to their publishing success. Dominant themes vary between African, Third World and international-oriented journals. Governance is a prevalent theme throughout, but African journals prefer intervention to the international journals’ preoccupation with conflict in Africa. Third World Journals place development first. The five most prolific authors are Ian Taylor, Kevin C. Dunn, Cameron G. Thies, Nana K. Poku and Chris Alden. They are all currently lecturing at either American or British academic institutions and are all Africanists, save for Poku who is a diasporic African. Networks of affiliation are established through institutions of higher education primarily and through societal memberships. The internet does not seem to be an important tool of networking amongst Africanists. Dominant authors tend to collaborate, serve as article reviewers or on editorial boards of journals for which they also submit articles, and as research grant proposal reviewers, thus also constituting the gatekeepers in academia.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Ten spyte van geldige argumente wat aanvoer dat bestaande teorieë nie in staat is daartoe om Derdewêreld ervarings – spesifiek dié van Afrika – genoegsaam te begryp nie, het kritiek eerder hierdie teorieë versterk as ontsetel. Dit is omdat fokus op (en dus vanuit) bestaande teoretiese raamwerke die oorweging van elemente buite hierdie raamwerke onmoontlik maak, en sodoende die ontstaan van nuwe, meer verteenwoordigende raamwerke, teenwerk. Die intellektuele magsbalans en metodologiese hegemonie van die Weste word voortgesit, selfs op die Afrika kontinent, deur Westerse monopolie oor die kursusinhoude van tersiêre instansies, sowel as deur die voorkeur wat Afrikaniste se bydraes geniet bo dié van Afrikane vir publikasie. Hierdie studie bied ‘n kritiese analise van dominansie in kundigheid oor die onderwerp van Afrika om sodoende by te dra tot ‘n meer omskrywende geheelbeeld van die dinamiek wat nie-Westerse idees en ervarings uitsluit tot die diskoers van Internasionale Betrekkinge. Die navorsing is in die vorm van ‘n inhoudsanalise van 25 invloedryke joernale wat inhoud relevant tot Internasionale Betrekkinge publiseer, vir die periode Januarie 2000 tot Augustus 2010. Die doel is om dominante temas en kundiges oor die onderwerp van Afrika se internasionale betrekkinge te identifiseer. Biografiese inligting oor die vyf mees bedrewe kundiges in terme van publikasies is ingesamel om die netwerke van akademiese en professionele affiliasie wat moontlik tot hulle status kon bydra, te assesseer. Dominante temas verskil tussen Afrika-, Derdewêreld- en internasionaal-georiënteerde joernale. Regeerkunde is deurgaans ‘n prominente tema, maar die Afrika-joernale verkies intervensie teenoor die internasionale joernale se fokus op konflik in Afrika. Derdewêreld-joernale plaas meer klem op ontwikkeling. Die vyf mees bedrewe outeurs is Ian Taylor, Kevin C. Dunn, Cameron G. Thies, Nana K. Poku en Chris Alden. Hulle is almal lektore by Amerikaanse of Britse akademiese instansies en, behalwe vir Poku wat deel van die Afrika diaspora vorm, is hulle almal Afrikaniste. Netwerke van affiliasie word deur instansies van hoër opleiding of lidmaatskap aan professionele assosiasies bewerkstellig. Die internet is klaarblyklik nie ‘n baie belangrik instrument in kontakbouing vir Afrikaniste nie. Dominante outeurs is geneig om saam te skryf, hulle is dikwels die artikelkeurders vir joernale of dien op die redaksie en tree ook dikwels in ‘n hoedanigheid van keurders van navorsingsbefondsing op. As sulks is hulle gelyk die dominante akademici as die waghonde van die ivoortoring.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/6644
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