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Solofo Randrianja

University of Toamasina
Vernacular Forms of Governance And Democracy in Africa
01 October 2015 -
30 June 2016

Solofo Randrianja is Professor in the Department of History of the University of Toamasina, Madagascar, and Director of research at the Political Studies Institute of Madagascar. He has taught at the University of Chicago and was a fellow at the “Africa Studies Centrum” of Leiden and at the Taiwan Foundation for Democracy. He is co-editor in chief of the CODESRIA (Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa) Identity, culture and politics magazine. In 2000 at Nashville (Tennessee, USA) he was awarded the International Visitor Award by the African Studies Association (ASA) for his research.

Research interests

Contemporary political history of Madagascar; identities; alternative political cultures; autochthony.

Key Publications

Madagascar, le coup d’Etat de mars 2009, Karthala, 2012.

Madagascar, a short history, with S. Ellis, Chicago University Press, 2009

Madagascar et l’Afrique du sud, in D. Nativel and F. Rajaonah (eds), Madagascar et l’Afrique, Karthala, 2007.

Madagascar, ethnies et ethnicité, CODESRIA, Dakar, 2004.

Luttes anticoloniales et sociétés à Madagascar, 1896-1946, Karthala, 2001.

Can a state be considered as a constitutional and legal system only? In various places on the globe, many citizens ask for more. The existence of other systems of norms in non-western societies questions their influence on the Weberian State. The flourishing literature on the failings of Euro African states gave them not very gratifying names: fragile states, failed states… Many of these states are weakened more by the competition between several systems of norms than corruption. Questionable models –because they illustrate and demonstrate concepts such as patrimonialism and neopatrimonialism– have once and for all discredited local forms of governance, referred to as traditional. Their characterization as informal did not however prevent the colonial authorities and their successors from incorporating them, after having witnessed their effectiveness as sources of legitimacy, or for the purpose of ensuring the production and management of public goods. These institutions and practices of governance are often the product of a several-century-long political history. Without being overly laudatory, one can wonder to what extent they can contribute to setting up a durable democratic system in Africa and confirm Amartya Sen’s vison of a “democracy of others”.

Workshop organized by S. Randrianja (IEA de Paris), P. Boilley (IMAF / U. Paris 1), D. Nativel (U. Paris 7) and S. Sanchez (IRD)
03 Jun 2016 08:45 -
03 Jun 2016 18:00,
Paris :
A tribute to Stephen Ellis

Contemporary period (1789-…)
Sub-Saharan Africa