Summary and Info
Ben Jones argues that scholars too often assume that the state is the most important force behind change in local political communities in Africa. Studies look to the state, and to the impact of government reforms, as ways of understanding processes of development and change. Looking to Uganda, believed to be one of Africa's few ''success stories,'' Jones chronicles the low importance of the state and the marginal impact of Western development agencies. Extensive ethnographic fieldwork in a Ugandan village reveals instead that it is churches, the village court, and organizations based on obligations of family and kinship that represent the most significant sites of innovation and social transformation. Groundbreaking and critical, Beyond the State offers a new anthropological perspective on how to think about processes of social and political change in poorer parts of the world.