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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Marxism, social class, ethnic and gender inequalities in contemporary African societies
Author:Febiri, F.A.
Year:1991
Periodical:The African Review: A Journal of African Politics, Development and International Affairs
Volume:18
Issue:1-2
Pages:39-56
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:Marxism
social inequality
social classes
sociology
discrimination
equal opportunity
Abstract:In developing a theoretical explanation for the prevalence of class, gender and ethnic/racial inequalities in contemporary African societies, the author argues that there is a perpetuation of the myth of classlessness in Africa because of the application to the African situation of Marxist class analysis in its classical, theoretical form, and that ethnic and gender inequalities are salient in Africa because of the existence of a plurality of modes of production articulated by mercantile capitalism. He contends that the discrepancy between the classical Marxist class model and the African class structure is fundamental, and is related to the structural difference between industrial and mercantile capitalism. The social formation of contemporary Africa (except South Africa) is that of mercantile capitalism which, unlike industrial capitalism, which is the social formation of the developed capitalist countries, thrives on petty commodity production and the distribution of goods and services. Investment in the actual production process, especially in industry and modern technology, is relegated to the background. It is the limited transformative power of mercantile capitalism which mainly accounts for the salience of ethnic and gender inequalities in many contemporary African societies. Bibliogr., notes, ref.
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