Architecture and Politics in Africa
Title Details

294 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

3 b/w, 35 illus.

Series: Making & Remaking the African City: Studies in Urban Africa

Series Vol. Number: 1

Imprint: James Currey

Architecture and Politics in Africa

Making, Living and Imagining Identities through Buildings

Edited by Joanne Tomkinson, Daniel Mulugeta and Julia Gallagher

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Innovative study of state politics, identity and buildings that sheds new light on the links between the material and the ideational realms of contemporary life in Africa.



Buildings shape politics in the ways they define communities, enable economic activity, reflect political ideas, and impact state-society relations. They are materially and symbolically interwoven with the everyday lives of elites and citizens, as well global flows of money, goods, and contracts. Yet, to date, there has been no research that explicitly connects debates about Africa's domestic and international politics with the study of architecture. This innovative book fills this gap, providing a new and compelling reading of the politics of identity in sub-Saharan Africa through an examination of some of its most significant buildings. Using case studies from nine countries across sub-Saharan Africa, this volume reveals how they are commissioned and built, how they enable elites to project power, and how they form a basis for popular conceptions of the state. Exploring a diverse range of buildings including parliaments, airports, prisons, ministries, regional institutions, libraries, universities, shopping malls, public housing, cathedrals and palaces, the contributors suggest a innovative perspective on African politics, identity and urban development. This book will be a compelling reference for scholars and students of African politics, development studies and city life in its elaboration of and challenges to established concepts and arguments about the relationship between material objects and political ideas.

This book is available as Open Access under the Creative Commons license CC-BY-NC-ND.
Introduction: Buildings are the stuff of politics
Daniel Mulugeta, Joanne Tomkinson and Julia Gallagher
PART 1: MAKING
1. Global ambitions and national identity in Ethiopia's airport expansion
Joanne Tomkinson and Dawit Yekoyesew
2. Building heaven on earth: Political rhetoric and ritual over Ghana's national cathedral
Emmanuel K. Ofori-Sarpong
3. China's 'parliament building gift' to Malawi: Exploring its rationale, tensions and asymmetrical gains
Innocent Batsani-Ncube
4. New homes for a new state: Foreign ideas in Ghana's public housing programmes
Irene Appeaning Addo
PART 2: LIVING
5. Beautiful state/ugly state: Architecture and political authority in Côte d'Ivoire
Julia Gallagher and Yah Ariane Bernadette N'djoré
6. Colonial legacies in architectures of consumption: The case of Sam Levy's village in Harare
Tonderai Koschke
7. Public spaces? Public goods? Reinventing Nairobi's public libraries
Marie Gibert
8. The role of architecture in South African detention cases during the apartheid era
Yusuf Patel
PART 3: IMAGINING
9. Pan-African imaginations: The AU building and its popular imagery in Ethiopia and Nigeria
Daniel Mulugeta
10. Asantean Noumena: The politics and imaginary reconstruction of the Asante Palace, Kumase
Tony Yeboah
11. From prison to freedom: Overwriting the past, imagining Nigeria
Laura Routley
Afterword: Theorising the politics of unformal(ised) architectures
Kuukuwa Manful
Bibliography
Index

JOANNE TOMKINSON is a post-doctoral researcher in the Department of Politics at SOAS, University of London. Her current research explores the role of airport buildings and infrastructure in national development strategies, focusing on Ethiopia and Ghana.

DANIEL MULUGETA is a Lecturer in International Politics of Africa and a UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at SOAS, University of London. His works include The Everyday State in Africa: Governance Practices and State Ideas in Ethiopia, published in 2020. His research looks at the connections between architecture and regional and pan-African politics.

JULIA GALLAGHER is a Professor of African Politics at SOAS, University of London. She has published books on Zimbabwe's International Relations, Images of Africa and Britain and Africa under Blair. She currently leads a five-year research project on architecture and politics in Africa.

Paperback

9781847013323

September 2022

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Open Access

9781847013323

September 2022

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9781800106321

September 2022

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Title Details

294 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

3 b/w, 35 illus.

Series: Making & Remaking the African City: Studies in Urban Africa

Series Vol. Number: 1

Imprint: James Currey