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Dr. Faisal Garba


Mobilities and the Outlines of a Macro Sociology of (Contemporary) Africa

Dr. Faisal Garba


How would contemporary African social formations be conceptualised, theorised, and taught, if our starting point is Africa’s experience of shifting and multiple relationships between territoriality and belonging, as opposed to proceeding from the Westphalian fusion of identity(and a single) place (and in some cases blood)? This presentation reflects on a process to develop a Sociology of Africa by rethinking some of the dominant concepts, categories, frames, and methods that are deployed in the study of Africa. It does so by: (1 tracing how migration mediates the emergence and remaking of political communities out of diverse social groups; (2 moving away from categories and assumptions that racialise, ethnicise, tribalise and essentialise the public sphere in Africa; and (3 proposing an approach to researching and teaching contemporary African societies that emphasises mobility, territoriality, modes of livelihood, and shifting identities and belonging, as opposed to essence and timelessness. It concludes with a reflection on the practicalities of doing a macro Sociology of Africa that takes Africa and its diverse interconnections as a frame and a method, without succumbing to geographical and or methodological borders.

Thu 9 February 2023, 12-14, Zoom

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