Unravelling Public Authority: Paths of Hybrid Governance in Africa

Date: 6 - 7 December 2013

Venue: London School of Economics - Seminar Rm 405, Financial Marketing Group - 4th Floor, Lionel Robbins Building (Library Bldg) London

Organization / co-organization: London School of Economics & University of Antwerp

Short description: Seminar on 'hybrid governance'.

The bankruptcy of conventional approaches to state failure and state building in Africa has drawn attention to new forms of order emerging on the ground in areas where the presence of the state is weak. Widely described by the term 'hybrid governance', these new organizational forms incorporate local institutions and popular organizations to fill gaps in state capacity. Is this just a new development buzzword, or does hybrid governance provide a useful conceptual tool for understanding, and even facilitating, more grounded and sustainable processes of governance in Africa?

  • This workshop will bring together specialists from Europe and Africa to explore the empirical realities of hybrid governance in a range of fragile and more dynamic African contexts, focusing on the factors that shape positive as well as negative paths of hybrid governance in contemporary Africa.
  • Drawing on extensive empirical research in a range of African countries, including Somalia, South Sudan, the DR Congo and Nigeria, participants will consider how different levels of state capacity, and different choices of local partners (armed or non-armed actors; informal or formal; indigenous or international organizations), shape divergent trends in hybrid governance outcomes.
  • Discussions will focus on four key themes emerging from current work on hybrid governance: service provision, security, taxation and conceptual/theoretical concerns.

These themes will be interrogated through a number of key questions:

  • How is the term understood by different actors, and is there a different understanding in the fields of policy and academia?
  • What does hybrid governance do to the nature of the state?  Does it simply shore up state capacity and legitimacy, or does it alter the nature of public authority?
  • How are local partners for hybrid governance arrangements chosen and what is their source of legitimacy?  Are there multiple contenders within local societies?
  • How does this process affect society and citizenship rights?  What forces in society do they empower, and what forces do they weaken or marginalize?

With a view to interrogating assumptions about the social basis, development objectives, and performance of hybrid governance processes in different African contexts, this workshop seeks to clarify what hybrid governance means, what it offers to local populations and its implications for state capacity, political legitimacy, and citizenship rights.

Registration: The number of participants is restricted, please contact kristof.titeca@uantwerpen.be

Contact email: kristof.titeca@uantwerpen.be

Contact phone: +32 3 265 56 94

Attachment: Unravelling Public Authority: Paths of Hybrid Governance in Africa