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Non-Western Reflection on Politics

Edited By Petr Drulák and Sárka Moravcová

Recent rise of the non-Western parts of the world makes the need for a genuine global dialogue more urgent than ever before. To take an effective part in it, the West needs to face a conceptual challenge. The Western understanding of the political world is based on such deeply ingrained concepts as power, politics, statecraft, cooperation, multilateralism, dependence, identity or human rights. The Westerners tend to wrongly assume that everyone else is bound to share these concepts. This book shows that the reality is different. Investigating African, Asian, Islamic and Latin American political thinking, the book introduces non-Western concepts of politics as well as non-Western readings of seemingly familiar Western concepts. By doing this, it points to the obstacles to the global dialogue as well as to opportunities which may be exploited.


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Politics of Back-Scratching in Camero on and Beyond - Francis Nyamnjoh


Politics of Back-Scratching in Cameroon and Beyond Francis Nyamnjoh Introduction Politics the world over is a game of interest. Contrary to what we may think, wish or claim, no individual, however autonomous, is entirely independent. It is in this sense that even the most apparently independent individual is a subject, produced at the point of convergence of the actions of others. This, of course, is not to deny an individual’s capacity to act self-interestedly. Rather, recognis- ing interdependence accommodates the paradox that any radical pursuit of independence invariably occasions dependence. Interdependence calls for the pursuit of individual interests only to the extent that such pursuits do not im- pair or jeopardise the interests of others. Hence the need to reconcile individu- al agency with laws, values, norms and practices that seek to provide for a level playing field for the game of self-interest. Those who understand this see poli- tics as a game that seeks to recognise and reconcile individual and collective interests. There can be as many individual interests as the number of individu- als involved. However, given that individuals do not live in splendid isolation from one another, shared backgrounds, experiences, social positions and pre- dispositions inspire common aspirations. It is therefore possible that although the individual might remain our unit of analysis, since individuals do not have the same natural dispositions or social cultivation, individual interests are guid- ed by, or articulated in tune with, the group or collective values to which they subscribe or which they...

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