Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Africa Focus: "Getting Somalia Wrong?" And "Africa and the War on Drugs" - Recommended books on Africa.


Harper, Mary. Getting Somalia Wrong: Faith and War in a

Shattered State. London: Zed Books, 2012.

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Somalia is a comprehensively failed state, representing a threat to itself, its neighbours and the wider world. In recent years, it has  become notorious for the piracy off its coast and the rise of Islamic extremism, opening it up as a new 'southern front' in the war on  terror. At least that is how it is inevitably portrayed by politicians and in the media. Mary Harper offers the first comprehensive account  of the chaos into which the country has descended and the United States' renewed involvement there. In doing so, Harper argues that viewing  Somalia through the prism of al-Qaeda risks further destabilizing the country and the entire Horn of Africa, while also showing that though the country may be a failed state, it is far from being a failed society.




Neil Carrier and Gernot Klantschnig. Africa and the War on

Drugs. London: Zed Books, 2012.

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'In a world in which progress on addressing the global illicit drug problem is non-existent, this important volume seeks to move the discourse on drug flows and use in sub-Saharan Africa from a domain tightly controlled by the punitive language and narrow mind frames of the U.S.- driven war on drugs towards a more nuanced, balanced, research-based and both historically and culturally informed perspective. Thus, it is a breath of fresh air for an arena of contemporary social life dominated by failed policy, preconceived ideas, human rights violations, and lack of rigorous on-the-ground research. Patterns of drug use in Africa have been changing, and certainly the globalization of illicit drugs is part of this story, but, as this volume effectively demonstrates, it is on a small part of a much more complex narrative.' Professor Merrill Singer, Department of Anthropology, University of Connecticut Storrs


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