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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Local Powers and a Distant State in Rural Central African Republic
Authors:Bierschenk, ThomasISNI
Olivier de Sardan, Jean-PierreISNI
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Geographic term:Central African Republic
Subjects:political systems
local politics
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/161750
Abstract:The absence of the State in the rural areas of the Central African Republic is so striking that the position in certain respects has almost reached the level of caricature. However, this absence of the State does not mean that a void exists in its place. Local life may suffer from underadministration, but still be characterized by often latent conflicts and negotiation between various authorities, clans and factions. This article is the outcome of research undertaken in 1995 in five villages in the west and northwest of the country, using methodology that the authors had developed earlier: a rapid collective enquiry for the identification of conflicts and strategic groups, known as ECRIS. The political arenas at all of the sites surveyed are structured around three 'power poles': the village chiefs; the farmers' organizations; and the churches. Each maintains relations at its own level with the world outside the village, which means that the State, development aid projects, and national church organizations are all in various ways involved in the local political arenas despite their unequal powers and influence. Notes, ref.