African Boundaries: Barriers, Conduits and Opportunities

Paul Nugent, Anthony Asiwaju

Research output: Book/ReportBook

Abstract / Description of output

Boundaries are inherently artificial - they interpose barriers between people which do not exist by any fundamental law of human organization. The contrast between the intentions of those who police boundaries and those who are affected by them is part of the paradoxical nature of boundaries throughout the world. In Africa the paradoxes were accentuated, as colonial powers constructed new boundaries for their own purposes, altering the pre-colonial perceptions of the boundary and its functions. This study discusses the development and function of African boundaries from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Beginning with the historical perspective, the book then considers the impact of boundaries on pastoralists, the use of borders as "cordons sanitaire" against diseases, the perception of political space and the role of borders as places of residence and refuge. The book examines borders in Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Liberia and Zaire. Finally, European comparisons are drawn in order to assess the extent to which African boundaries are unusual, and to make an assessment of their future development.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherLondon: Pinter
Number of pages256
ISBN (Print)185567372X, 978-1855673724
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 1996


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