HomeAfrican Governmentality, Territoriality and Statolity in Crisis

HomeAfrican Governmentality, Territoriality and Statolity in Crisis

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Published on Tuesday, February 01, 2022


If the reflections on the State have covered quite vast fields, in particular the nature, the legitimacy, the practices, the viability, the credibility of the State in Africa, they do not yet offer the keys to put an end to this creational phenomenon nor stem the entropic dynamics by fissiparity and fission, with at the base, the activation of the principle of the self-determination of peoples to dispose of themselves.


Yaoundé, 15-16 December 2022



The denomination Africa gradually extended to the lands located beyond the Maghreb and in the tropics. Apart from Ethiopia, Egypt, Mali, Ghana, Congo and Benin, very few countries have kept their respective old names. Following historical contingencies, the African continent is composed at the beginning of 2020, of 54 countries with a population of around 1,348,000,000 inhabitants over an area of ​​30,415,873 square km according to various sources. Before this stage, there were kingdoms, ethnic groups of more or less large sizes in this geographical area. These countries in their majority became independent by taking contemporary names from the beginning of the 20th century, and for the most part, around the 1960s, known as the years of independence. Despite these declared freedoms, under nationalist dynamics, and with the decisive impetus of international actors, the observation of the weight of the tutelary powers remains implacable. The erasing of the traces of the governments of Ancient and/or precolonial Africa rubs shoulders with the realities of the imported state (Badie, 1992) tinged with signs of unfinished independence (Batibonak and Batibonak, 2019). The nationalists (individually or collectively) were subdued and brandished as "guerrillas" as if to extinguish real independence relays in the perspective of complete independence announced by the Atlantic Charter in 1941.

By identity attachment or separatist intentions, the inclinations of schisms that date back decades, most often based on a historical territorial anchoring, seem to become a fashion. Biafra, a singularly rich area, located between Nigeria and Cameroon, is indexed among the first cases of in Africa. The failure of the Biafran attempt, more than fifty years later, has not stifled secessionist or irredentist demands, causing great instability in certain states on the continent. Casamance illustrates another step in the terrorist plot. Other countries, like the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), are constantly troubled by claims by armed groups of legendary complexity. After the Katangese rebellions of the 20th century, the Bagna Mulengue, the Maï Maï, and others have been maintaining upheavals in the DRC for decades. In its neighborhood, the Central African Republic is stagnating under the weight of the spirits of the guerrillas, recalling the 17 agreements reached after the various periods of strong turbulence. The Sudano-Sahelian zone is positioned astride between two lines of violence. Boko Haram, raging in the Lake Chad Basin, sometimes under the posture of a sect, sometimes under the label of terrorist, is a nebulous formation subservient in all likelihood to Daesh whose acts cover Niger, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon since the end of the last century. A careful reading of all of these conjectures reveals a continuum in the postures, methods, actions and strategies adopted by the groups that distinguish themselves through “disorder”.

Upon their accession to sovereignty, African states, which had become new subjects of international law, directly adopted the Weberian state, one of the primary characteristics of which was the monopoly on the exercise of legitimate violence (Weber, [1919] 1963). Using and even abusing this monopoly, some governments have neglected other structuring elements likely to favor national integration and the construction of the nation-state. The factors unfavorable to the birth of the African state have pushed to centralize, concentrate, unify and integrate differences, notably through the single party (Batha, 1997). The consensual management of “social contradictions” (Duprat, 1990: 234) seemed problematic in a single-party context because of the structural domination of the center over the periphery. With the failure of the single parties, the nation-state could not emerge, rather giving rise to withdrawals of all kinds. Civil wars, fratricidal conflicts, separatist demands and secessionist impulses with multidimensional causes revolve around the independence claims of groups, sometimes minority, intra-national or international. This magmatic phenomenon does not seem to give any precise indication of a possible end as the disappearance of the state in the Western sense looms on the horizon in a territory like Somalia.

Is it unfinished decolonization or unfinished independence? On the one hand, it has been established that “we have never been independent” (Batibonak, 2019); which surprises many observers, realizing that the independences are or have all been almost artificial. On the other hand, the root causes, ignored or neglected, are buried through these terrorist protests. Many other acts of sabotage are underpinned by geopolitical and geoeconomic calculations and issues supported by a multinational system of destabilization (Péan, 2010; Borrel et al., 2021). In the end, oscillating, moving, weak, bankrupt, sorcerer, vampire … are the epithets decked out in the African state that back rooms keep producing. In this regard, Africa displays, like other developing States, the image of an area with fragile States, thus creating a worrying context to be addressed as a priority, especially since the fragile State “condenses the shortcomings of global governance inherited from a different era of international relations” (Mouton, 2012: 17). This analysis, which seems to correspond to American thought, at least to reflect it, underestimates the trajectory of these states (Person, 1981). Indeed, “both the National Security Strategy of the United States (2002) and the European Security Strategy (2004) identify the failure of States, and in particular that of African States, as a major issue for their security” (Africa Observatory, 2008: 2; Pavia, 2021). And USAID adds: “Fragile states have long posed a problem for the United States and are now recognized as a source of our nation’s most pressing security threats” (USAID, 2005: 11). Thinking of the new ways (approaches) of conceptualizing, delivering and evaluating assistance, the United States, which has also militarized humanitarian aid, is more concerned with putting these countries at the heart of its political agenda, in terms of development aid rather than to analyze the ideological and political trajectory of the latter, the majority of which are in Africa in line with the ranking of the Mo Ibrahim Report 2020 (2021).

It should be noted that the reformist diagnosis (Bezes, 2009) of the situation presents a problem of adjustment of state structures. The West is so preoccupied with the westernization of the world (Latouche, 2005) that it has no conceptual tool except “the paradigm of the yoke”, thus relativizing “the historicity of African societies” (Bayart, 1989: 24). It is for example obsessed with the holding of elections that this requirement ends up hindering the effective democratization of countries as well as their post-conflict stabilization (Observatory of Africa, 2008). Moreover, cross-examinations of the African cartography of conflict zones show that the latter corresponds perfectly to that of zones abounding in enormous strategic natural resources, which are difficult to exploit in optimal conditions due to insecurity. In this context of renewed conflict, some states “lose” the exercise of the legitimate monopoly of violence to the benefit of private companies. The privatization of legitimate violence in the service of the market is symptomatic of the fact that this privatization of violence is a phenomenon linked to the conditions of exploitation of these resources (Delcourt, 2006). By atomizing the use of violence, the State is further weakened and the nation “fragmented”.

The presence of mining and mineral resources therefore constitutes an attraction concealed under cover of the uprisings of the populations with a view to the creation of new States. However, it is established that the formation of a State constitutes a historical process specific to each people. This has not been the case, nor with the extension of the nation-state formula, imposed in Africa by colonization as a “new state gospel”, even less that of the separatist vehemences which shadow real appetites. What are the different responsibilities in these contexts? What leeway do states have in the context of permanent war? What opportunities emerge from these conflicting impulses? Classic questions are often affixed as academic works without any real focus on the distant and indirect origins of these circumstances of instability.

In this logic of questioning, what served as the state in the year 1800 or during the pre-colonial period? In other words, before the great periods of history such as slavery and colonization, how did (behave) the entities recognized today as States? Given that the current state model is imported from the West (Badie, 1992), what stood in the place of these instances in African lands? What paces did the governments of the peoples of these localities have? What were their modes and practices of governance? What levers should be mobilized to draw inspiration from it? In the contemporary era, it is clear that no African country has retained the political models of the past. The praxis of governance, admittedly imposed, is either hybrid, or foreign, or Western. The old pre-colonial administrations are almost absent. On observation, more than a century after the liberation of the African peoples, multiple ropes entwine and enlist them.

Through a homogenization of cultures and the stimuli of globalization, infiltrations of local communities condition them to trigger secessions, separatisms, ethnic claims, fueled by all kinds of trafficking. These pretexts for the interventions of the United Nations and major powers consolidating the logic of tutelarization bring up to date the persistence of neocolonial ardor. Considering the persistence and redundancy of nationalisms of the past and the many contemporary claims, associated with the normalization of bad governance, the hypothesis according to which the transposed archetypes of governance do not work, is definitely evoked as a serious avenue to explore, in regard to the ideological heartbreak of the politician having to choose between indocility (Mbembe, 1988), mimetic importation and the original reconstruction of the system of historical values ​​of African societies. Moreover, what is the balance sheet of the imported state in Africa at the start of 2020? How to understand the relativization of the historicity of African societies or the "absence" of Africa in history when it has living fabrics of cultural communities that could allow it to regain the initiative and participate in original and creative way, to a global community (Person, 1981) in the 21st century?

If the reflections on the State have covered quite vast fields, in particular the nature, the legitimacy, the practices, the viability, the credibility of the State in Africa, they do not yet offer the keys to put an end to this creational phenomenon nor stem the entropic dynamics by fissiparity and fission, with at the base, the activation of the principle of the self-determination of peoples to dispose of themselves. What forms should be proposed that would take into account the concerns of legitimacy, stability, statolity (Kontchou Kouemegni, 1989), governmentality (Foucault, 1994: 656), credibility and prosperity of the African State on the international scene? Such are in interrogative forms, the objectives of this scientific event.

The themes to be addressed and without pretending to be exhaustive, can be articulated around the following axes:

  • Axis 1: Epistemology of the weakening of the African State in the 21st century;
  • Axis 2: Sociogenesis and socioanthopology of the African State;
  • Axis 3: Chronotopia of the African resilient state;
  • Axis 4: Geopolitics of state creation dynamics;
  • Axis 5: Correlational analyzes of elements and structuring factors of stable states in Africa;
  • Axis 6: Deconstruction and reconstruction of the state in Africa: between de-stateizing Africa and Africanizing the state;
  • Axis 7: The African Union and the principle of the intangibility of borders;
  • Axis 8: Model states and model of states for Africa.

Submission guidelines

All areas of society are concerned by this heuristic work: politics, international relations, law, education, sociology, anthropology, geography, history, historiography, economics, health or development studies, etc. Individual and/or group researchers from all walks of life are invited to propose original reflections on this theme. Summaries of approximately 200 words, i.e. one page, in French or in English, are expected, accompanied by the contact details of the applicants (first names, surnames, institutional ties, emails, telephones, WhatsApp numbers). The email addresses are as follows: Editions.Monange@gmail.com, credis.contact@gmail.com et sbatibonak@gmail.com

Coordination and contact address: Pr Paul BATIBONAK, prbatibo@gmail.com


  • January 30, 2022 Publication of the announcement (in English)
  • March 30, 2022 Reception of proposals
  • April 30, 2022 Responses to applicants
  • June 30, 2022 Full articles
  • July 30, 2022 End of article evaluation
  • August 30, 2022 Return of finalized papers
  • November 20, 2022 Tentative date of publication of the book
  • December 15-16, 2022 Holding of the international conference in Yaoundé

Indicative bibliography

Badié, B., 1992, L’État importé. L’occidentalisation de l’ordre politique, Paris, Fayard.

Batha, M.-A., 1997, La dynamique sécessionniste dans l’Afrique indépendante (1960-1995), Yaoundé, Thèse de doctorat, IRIC.

Batibonak, P., 2019, Indépendances inachevées en Afrique. « Nous n’avons jamais été indépendants », Paris, L’Harmattan.

Batibonak, S. et Batibonak, P., 2019, Indépendances inachevées en Afrique. Rémanence de la tutélarisation, Yaoundé, Monange.

Bayart, J.-F., 1989, L’État en Afrique. La politique du ventre, Paris, Fayard.

Bezes, P., 2009, Réinventer l’État, Les réformes de l’administration française (1962–2008), Paris, Presses universitaires de France. (519 p.)

Borrel, T., Boukari Y. A., Collombat, B. et Deltombe, T., 2021, L'empire qui ne veut pas mourir. Une histoire de la françafrique, Paris, Éditions du Seuil.

Delcourt, B., 2006, Théories de la sécurité, Cours de relations internationales, Bruxelles, Université Libre de Bruxelles.

Duprat, G., 1990, Connaissance du politique, Paris, PUF.

Foucault, M., 1994, Dits et écrits 1954-1988, Tome III (1976-1979), Paris, Gallimard.

Kontchou Kouomegni, A., 1989, « De la statolité en Afrique : À la recherche de la souveraineté », Revue science technique, science humaine, vol. VI, n° 3-4, Juillet-décembre 1989, pp.19-33.

Latouche, S., 1989, L’occidentalisation du monde : essai sur la signification, la portée et les limites de l’uniformisation planétaire, Paris, La Découverte.

Mbembe, A., 1988, Afriques indociles : Christianisme, pouvoir et État en société postcoloniale, Paris, Karthala.

Mo Ibrahim Foundation, 2021, 2020 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, https://mo.ibrahim.foundation/iiag, Consulté le 30 juin 2021.

Mouton, J.-D., 2012, « État fragile », une notion de droit international ? », in Revue Civitas Europa, n°28, pp. 5-18.

Observatoire de l’Afrique, 2008, Les États fragiles en Afrique : un paradigme utile pour l’action ? Rapport de la Conférence de Didimala Lodge, Bruxelles, EGMONT.

Pavia, J. F., 2021, « Nation State and Armed Conflicts », Academia Letters, Article 1633.

Péan, P., 2010, Carnages. Les guerres secrètes des grandes puissances en Afrique, Paris, Fayard.

Person, Y., 1981, « L'État-Nation et l'Afrique », in Revue française d'Histoire d'outre-mer, tome 68, n°250-253, État et société en Afrique Noire, pp. 274-282.

Tonda Maheba, 2021, L’État vampire. Don de sang, transfusion sanguine et politiques de la vie au Gabon, Paris, EHESS.

USAID, 2005, Fragile states strategy, Washington, USAID.

Weber, M., [1919] 1963, Le savant et le politique, Paris, Union Générale d’Éditions.

Scientific Committee

  • Pr Mehdi ABBAS, Université de Grenoble-Alpes, Grenoble, France.
  • Pr. Tossou ATCHRIMI, Université de Lomé, Lomé, Togo. 
  • Pr. Pierre BAKENGA SHAFALI, Université Officielle de Bukavu, Bukavu, République Démocratique du Congo.
  • Pr. Charles BASHIGE ATSI BUSHIGE, Philosophie, Philosophie du Droit, Université Officielle de Bukavu, Bukavu, R. D. Congo.
  • Pr. Raphaël BATENGUENE, Université de Douala, Douala, Cameroun.
  • Pr. Sariette BATIBONAK, ICT-University, Université de Yaoundé I, UEC, S&D, Yaoundé, Cameroun.
  • Pr. Élisabeth BUM, Université de Maroua, Maroua, Cameroun.
  • Pr. Jacques CHATUÉ, Université de Dschang, Dschang, Cameroun.
  • Pr. Chandel EBALÉ MONEZE, Université de Yaoundé I, Cameroun.
  • Pr. Innocent FOZING, École Normale de Yaoundé, Université de Yaoundé I, Yaoundé, Cameroun.
  • Pr. Emmanuel KAM YOGO, Université de Douala, Douala, Cameroun.
  • Pr. Nadine MACHIKOU, Université de Yaoundé II, Yaoundé, Cameroun.
  • Pr KAWAYA MEYA, Université de Bandundu, Bandundu, R. D. du Congo.
  • Pr Brice Arsène MANKOU, Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale, Dunkerque, France.
  • Pr Maixant MEBIAME-ZOMO, Université Oumar Bongo, Gabon.
  • Pr. Yves Paul MANDJEM, Université de Yaoundé II/IRIC, Yaoundé, Cameroun.
  • Pr. Luc MEBENGA TAMBA, Université de Yaoundé I, Yaoundé, Cameroun.
  • Pr Gérard NGOUMTSA ANOU, Université de Perpignan-Via Domitia, Perpignan, France.
  • Pr Marcel Bruce NGOUYAMSA MEFIRE, Université de Ngaoundéré, Ngaoundéré, Cameroun.
  • Pr. Jean NZHIE ENGONO, Université de Yaoundé I, Cameroun.
  • Pr. Célestin TAGOU, Université Protestante d’Afrique Centrale, Yaoundé, Cameroun.
  • Pr. Gérard TCHOUASSI, Université de Yaoundé II, Yaoundé, Cameroun.
  • Pr Herman TOUO, Université de Ngaoundéré, Ngaoundéré, Cameroun.
  • Pr Roger ZERBO, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique et Technologique, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.



  • Yaoundé, Cameroon

Event attendance modalities

Hybrid event (on site and online)


  • Wednesday, March 30, 2022


  • Africa, crisis, governmentaly, state


    courriel : prbatibo [at] gmail [dot] com

Information source

    courriel : prbatibo [at] gmail [dot] com


CC0-1.0 This announcement is licensed under the terms of Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal.

To cite this announcement

« African Governmentality, Territoriality and Statolity in Crisis », Call for papers, Calenda, Published on Tuesday, February 01, 2022, https://doi.org/10.58079/185q

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