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Streets and Boardrooms as Hegemonic Spaces in Shaping Political Economy in Africa

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Part of the Palgrave Handbooks in IPE book series (PHIPE)

Abstract

In liberal and neoliberal political economy, the major driver of change in society is capital, but recent economic crisis and the accompanied state interventions have shown that the other driver comprise of “voices in the streets” around the world. In sub-Saharan Africa, these street voices include actors who see the street as a viable arena for conducting their struggles for better living conditions and against authoritarianism. They battle against exclusion from public policy designs and implementation. Today, these street voices are forcing the ruling classes, the state bureaucrats, and global financial oligarchs who take decisions in their “boardrooms” to open up policy spaces for citizens’ participation, thus redefining the political economy landscape of Africa. The nature of public policy, institutions, and economic and political thinking are changing, while the ranks of class actors and their coalitions in the streets of many African nations are similarly changing. The pattern of class politics in liberal democracies is also changing. Some regimes have been reconstituted, while others have become corporatists and other assuming authoritarian postures. These state reactions to the situation have not fundamentally changed the political economy of exploitation and inequality and national dependency. There is therefore the need to close the gap between the streets and the boardrooms through the following: the emergence of a “democratic developmental State,” respect for individual and group rights and freedoms, improvements in communication and feedback, constitutionalism, and repositioning of the university in Africa to generate alternative knowledge that will deal with authoritarian tendencies of the boardrooms which ignite street actions.

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Sha, D.P. (2020). Streets and Boardrooms as Hegemonic Spaces in Shaping Political Economy in Africa. In: Oloruntoba, S., Falola, T. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of African Political Economy. Palgrave Handbooks in IPE. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-38922-2_7

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