Other Free Encyclopedias » Science Encyclopedia » Science & Philosophy: Adrenoceptor (adrenoreceptor; adrenergic receptor) to Ambient » Afropessimism - Depiction, African Rebirth, Impact, Explanations, A Middle Ground, Bibliography

Afropessimism - Depiction

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Many writers have given different expressions to the phenomenon of Afropessimism. Attempts to explain the concept include both cogent studies (Ayittey, 1992, 1998; Jackson and Rosberg; Kaplan, 1994) and polemical and shallow travelogues (Richburg). In general, one virtue of Afropessimist writings is that they do not whitewash Africa's problems. Further, they correctly refuse to excuse the outrages of some African dictators on the basis of political ideology or racial identity. In particular they refuse to use colonial exploitation to mask postcolonial kleptocracy, the personalization of state power, and the politics of prebendalism. The writers mentioned above (excepting Richburg and Kaplan) do not reject the hope that Africa can develop or that it is capable of overcoming its political and economic problems. In this sense they are not themselves pessimistic about the future of Africa but rather are simply describing the phenomenon of Afropessimism. The real Afropessimists are writers who call for abandoning, or worse, recolonizing the continent (Johnson; Kaplan, 1992, 1994; Michaels; Hitchens). While generally the writers in the first group merely denounce postcolonial African leadership by pointing out its weaknesses, those in the latter tend to conclude that Africans are incapable of self-rule.

However, a common characteristic of the two modes of Afropessimist writings is imbalance. They all tend to highlight the horrors of a few African countries and ignore the advances of many other countries at various times. The unscientific establishment of doomsday conclusions about Africa characteristic of studies in this genre (see, in particular, Richberg) are usually not warranted by the limited sample of African countries discussed in the narratives. The unintended result is that Africa is given a blanket negative portrayal. (There are, by contrast, prominent works that for the most part decry Africa's image in the West—see, for instance, Hammond and Jablow; Hawk.) The resultant foreboding and ominous image in Western media and the academy weakens the continent in the global competition for foreign investment and tourism (see Onwudiwe, 1996). This is an economic effect of Afropessimism.

Afropessimism - African Rebirth [next]

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