£26.99 | $41.95

11 February 2010
ISBN: 9781842779729
272 pages
216 x 138mm

Development, Economics, Politics

Africa's Development Impasse

Rethinking the Political Economy of Transformation

By Stefan Andreasson

Orthodox strategies for socio-economic development have failed spectacularly in Southern Africa. Neither the developmental state nor neoliberal reform seems able to provide a solution to Africa's problems.

In Africa's Development Impasse, Stefan Andreasson analyses this failure and explores the potential for post-development alternatives. Examining the post-independence trajectories of Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa, the book shows three different examples of this failure to overcome a debilitating colonial legacy. Andreasson then argues that it is now time to resuscitate post-development theory's challenge to conventional development. In doing this, he claims, we face the enormous challenge of translating post-development into actual politics for a socially and politically sustainable future and using it as a dialogue about what the aims and aspirations of post-colonial societies might become.

This important fusion of theory with empirical case studies will be essential reading for students of development politics and Africa.


'Stefan Andreasson has crafted a very well-grounded/-informed treatise about both region & literatures, juxtaposing politics & economics with sociology & history. He is both revisionist & idealistic about the elusiveness of development & democracy, advocating a post-development perspective. He confronts notions of developmental state/nexus along with corporatism by reference to the comparative political economy of a trio of Southern African states. This book constitutes a major contribution to (Southern) African & (post-) development studies at the start of the second decade of the 21st century following the recent global financial restructuring. The latter might just offer a new space or window for the global South to finally overcome the development impasse in this as other continents.' - Professor Timothy M Shaw, Institute of International Relations at the University of the West Indies

'This important book interrogates Africa’s position under the conditions of late modernity and the hegemony of liberalism and offers up an original vision for a genuinely emancipatory project that may, finally, create space for the continent’s own thinking on development issues. By engaging with the post-development debates, Andreasson’s work makes a highly innovative contribution to discussions about how and in which ways the continent can negotiate its own future, drawing upon its indigenous intellectual and material resources.' - Ian Taylor, University of St Andrews/University of Stellenbosch

'A bold and imaginative reflection, in the context of southern Africa, on what the post-development injunction to seek alternatives to development can actually mean. This book contains the most sensitive and nuanced treatment of post-development thinking I have read. I highly recommend this volume not just to Africanists, but to all those who, with an open mind, are willing to reconsider just what the 'development' enterprise is and might be.' - Richard Sandbrook, Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto

'This is an excellent contribution in the post-development studies literature and an inspiring book to place in the hands of those who need to carry out the transformation...' - Marte Conde, Progress in Development Studies

'Africa's Development Impasse is commendable above all for its willingness to engage with ideas about the radical transformations necessary to come to genuinely broad-based and sustainable development in an African post-colonial order...' - Bram Buscher, The Journal of Modern African Studies

'Andreasson unveils in this book a highly innovative contribution to the discussion about how and in which ways Africa can negotiate to forge its own future... The book is thought-provoking...' Africa Today

'A provocative and path-breaking study...' Giuliano Martiniello, Leeds African Studies Bulletin

Table of Contents

Section I: From Development to Post-Development
1 - Foundations for Development in Southern Africa
2 - The Elusive Developmental Nexus
3 - Beyond Development
Section II: Comparative Regional Trajectories
4 - Botswana: Paternalism and the Developmental State
5 - Zimbabwe: the Failing State Revisited
6 - South Africa: Normalisation of Uneven Development
Conclusion - Comparative Lessons from Southern Africa

About the Author:

Stefan Andreasson is Lecturer in Comparative Politics in the School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy at Queen's University Belfast. He received his PhD in political science from Arizona State University and was a Research Associate with the Institute for Global Dialogue in Johannesburg. His primary research interest is the political economy of development, including state-market relations, the history of capitalism in Southern Africa and theoretical debates on what constitutes development. His research has appeared in journals including, among others, Journal of Contemporary African Studies, Third World Quarterly, Capitalism Nature Socialism, Political Studies, Democratization, and Business and Society.