International Encyclopedia of Civil Society

2010 Edition
| Editors: Helmut K. Anheier, Stefan Toepler

Civil Society and Social Capital in West Africa

  • Ebenezer Obadare
Reference work entry


In order to understand the evolution of civil society in West Africa, particularly how the concepts of civil society and social capital are understood there, it seems necessary to place the subregion in a sociohistorical context. There is a fairly established, and not entirely irrational, tendency among historians, anthropologists, sociologists, and political scientists to analyze West Africa as a unitary geographical, economic, and political space. This is due to several factors. One is that long before colonial interruption and the process that eventuated in the creation of today’s postcolonial states, a tradition of sustained interregional migration and trade had fostered something approximating a pan-regional consciousness (Adamu, 1978; Manuh, 2006; Lovejoy, 1980). Created in 1975, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was, in a way, an institutional symbol and expression of this history of continuous economic, cultural, and political interaction....

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References/Further Readings

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ebenezer Obadare
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA