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California Series in Public Anthropology #14: Prisoners of Freedom: Human Rights and the African Poor

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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this vivid ethnography, Harri Englund investigates how ideas of freedom impede struggles against poverty and injustice in emerging democracies. Reaching beyond a narrow focus on the national elite, Prisoners of Freedom shows how foreign aid and human rights activism hamper the pursuit of democratic citizenship in Africa. The book explores how activistsand#8217; aspirations of self-improvement, pursued under harsh economic conditions, find in the human rights discourse a new means to distinguish oneself from the poor masses. Among expatriates, the emphasis on abstract human rights avoids confrontations with the political and business elites. Drawing on long-term research among the Malawian poor, Englund brings to life the personal circumstances of Malawian human rights activists, their expatriate benefactors, and the urban and rural poor as he develops a fresh perspective on freedomand#151;one that recognizes the significance of debt, obligation, and civil virtues.

Synopsis:

"This is an exceptionally interesting and well researched book on a topic of enormous importance. It brings careful ethnographic fieldwork to bear on the new 'culture of rights' that has developed in democratized post-colonial African states such as Malawi, and by doing so develops a powerful and consequential critique."and#151;James Ferguson, Stanford University

"In this exceptionally rich and thought-provoking study of human rights fundamentalism in Malawi, Harri Englund makes an original contribution to debates on democracy, freedom, civil society, and poverty in Africa. His vivid ethnographic prose brings to life Malawian human rights activists, their expatriate benefactors as well as the urban and rural poor. This is a major contribution on a major topic."and#151;Francis B. Nyamnjoh, Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa

About the Author

Harri Englund is University Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. He is the author of From War to Peace on the Mozambique-Malawi Borderland and the editor of A Democracy of Chameleons: Politics and Culture in the New Malawi and Rights and the Politics of Recognition in Africa.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments

List of Abbreviations

Introduction

1. The Situation of Human Rights: Debating Governance and Freedom

2. Rights as Freedoms: Translating Human Rights

3. The Hidden Lessons of Civic Education: Training the Torchbearers

4. Watchdogs Unleashed? Encountering and#147;the Grassrootsand#8221;

5. Legal Aid for Abused Labor: Individualizing Grievances

6. Crimes of Exploitation: Dehumanizing a Lorry Boy

7. Human Rights and Moral Panics: Listening to Popular Grievances

8. Redeeming Freedom

Notes

References

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9780520249233
Subtitle:
Human Rights and the African Poor
Publisher:
University of California Press
Author:
Englund, Harri
Author:
Nd
Author:
Harri Englu
Subject:
Ethnology
Subject:
Poverty
Subject:
International Relations - Diplomacy
Subject:
Political Advocacy
Subject:
Political Freedom & Security - Human Rights
Subject:
Ethnology -- Malawi.
Subject:
Human rights -- Malawi.
Subject:
Anthropology - Cultural
Subject:
Politics - General
Edition Description:
Cloth
Series:
California Series in Public Anthropology
Series Volume:
14
Publication Date:
20060912
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
Professional and scholarly
Language:
English
Illustrations:
1 b/w photograph and 1 chart
Pages:
260
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 0.75 in 0.13 lb

Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Politics » General
History and Social Science » Politics » Human Rights

California Series in Public Anthropology #14: Prisoners of Freedom: Human Rights and the African Poor
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Product details 260 pages University of California Press - English 9780520249233 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by ,
"This is an exceptionally interesting and well researched book on a topic of enormous importance. It brings careful ethnographic fieldwork to bear on the new 'culture of rights' that has developed in democratized post-colonial African states such as Malawi, and by doing so develops a powerful and consequential critique."and#151;James Ferguson, Stanford University

"In this exceptionally rich and thought-provoking study of human rights fundamentalism in Malawi, Harri Englund makes an original contribution to debates on democracy, freedom, civil society, and poverty in Africa. His vivid ethnographic prose brings to life Malawian human rights activists, their expatriate benefactors as well as the urban and rural poor. This is a major contribution on a major topic."and#151;Francis B. Nyamnjoh, Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa

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