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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