By Jimmy D. Kandeh (auth.)
Coups from less than represents the 1st significant attempt at learning coups conducted by means of the lumpen part or the subalterns of the military of African states. No past research has tried to envision coup making by way of these within the backside ranks of the army as a unique development of intervention in African reviews. Kandeh examines this trend as largely symptomatic of country failure, particularly the lack of political leaders to institutionalize energy, get rid of mass poverty and advertise socioeconomic development.
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Additional resources for Coups from Below: Armed Subalterns and State Power in West Africa
The swagger of the militariat comes from the knowledge that it can wreak havoc and make life difficult for elites and society as a whole. This dual threat to elites and the rest of society has resulted in uneasy accommodation by the former and hostility from the latter. Elite responsiveness to armed subaltern needs and demands has seldom prevented 30 ● Coups from Below coups by the militariat while public antagonism has in some cases (Sierra Leone in 1997 comes to mind) triggered subaltern mutinies and usurpations.
But unlike the young, who can readily take to a life of brigandage, older subalterns may find this option less practical or inviting. To the degree that armed regulars and irregulars are disproportionately drawn from the ranks of subaltern youth, it is the lumpenization of this segment of the population that is most critical to understanding the politics of the insurgent militariat. 14 They are seen as constituting the untamed and unrestrained social other, in opposition to which mainstream society defines itself.
Solidarity, which can find expression in hostility toward traitors, involves an articulation of class consciousness that competes with loyalties based on ethnicity, religion, and other affective ties. Transmission highlights the role of iconic signs and rumors in the propagation of subaltern insurgencies while territoriality underscores the significance of contiguity and consanguinity in the politicization of subaltern identities. The subaltern’s negative assertion of identity and sense of solidarity represent one side of its dual or contradictory character while its consanguinity may express the other side.