Politics Of Social Change In Ghana: The Konkomba Struggle for Political Equality by B. TaltonPolitics Of Social Change In Ghana: The Konkomba Struggle for Political Equality by B. Talton

Politics Of Social Change In Ghana: The Konkomba Struggle for Political Equality

byB. Talton

Hardcover | February 9, 2010

Pricing and Purchase Info

$124.65 online 
$149.50 list price save 16%
Earn 623 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


With Ghana’s colonial and postcolonial politics as a backdrop, this book explores the ways in which historically marginalized communities have defined and redefined themselves to protect their interests and compete with neighboring ethnic groups politically and economically.  The study uses the Konkomba and their relationship with their historically dominant neighbors to show the ways in which local communities define power, tradition, and belonging.  Through rich narrative and nuanced analysis, the author challenges popular thinking on the construction of ethnicity, the basis for social and political conflict, and the legacy of European colonial rule in Africa. 

Benjamin Talton is an assistant professor of history at Temple University where he specializes in modern African history.
Title:Politics Of Social Change In Ghana: The Konkomba Struggle for Political EqualityFormat:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 8.5 × 5.51 × 0 inPublished:February 9, 2010Publisher:Palgrave Macmillan USLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:023062278X

ISBN - 13:9780230622784


Table of Contents

Introduction: Power and Social Change in Africa * Chapter One: “Their Power Will Be Uniformly Supported”—The Politics of Historical Memory in Northern Ghana * “This Wild but Interesting Tribe”—Konkomba Feuds and Obstacles to British Rule * “A Festering Sore on an Otherwise Healthy Administrative Body”—Konkomba Political Agency and British Authority * “Down with Black Imperialism in the North!”—Education, Local Politics and Self-Help Initiatives * “That All Konkombas Should Henceforth Unite”—Ethnic Politics and the Use of Violence in Northern Ghana * “We Even Dance Together”—Social Relations in Post-Conflict Northern Ghana *Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

“The book’s strengths are its relevance for understanding broader colonial Africa and its array of primary, especially archival, sources, backed by an impressive list of secondary sources. These focus on colonial and independent Ghana but include literature from many parts of Africa as well as the classics of African studies. Recommended.”—CHOICE “What might a conflict, sparked by the sale of a guinea fowl in a fairly remote corner of Ghana in 1994, tell us about identity and politics in a rapidly globalizing, post-colonial world? Talton’s Politics of Social Change in Ghana is one of only a handful of works in African Studies to expertly demonstrate the centrality of the local to understanding power and political consciousness in our globalizing world.  It provides fresh insight into debates on tradition, religion, ethnicity, and political mobilization, while making sense of the horrific communal violence that  has devastated the social fabric of parts of Northern Ghana for the past three decades.”—Jean Allman, J.H. Hexter Professor in the Humanities Washington University in St. Louis“Taking Africanist history back to its roots, Talton reminds us that all politics is local and that ethnicity begins at home.”--Gregory Mann, Columbia University “A very impressive book. With remarkable erudition and felicity, Talton exhibits masterful command of his sources and makes a major contribution to the history of Ghana by exploring through time the delicate relations between the Konkomba and their neighbours. This book fills an important gap in the history of Ghana and with it we are enabled to gain deep insights into the history of the complex ethnic relations in northern Ghana; a history of great importance to Ghana's security and development.”--Kofi Baku, University of Ghana.  "Colonial rule in Africa typically left fault lines that have continued to produce political tremors since independence. In the case of Ghana, the north-south divide is  starkly apparent, but within the Northern Territories the British also created nested hierarchies. Decentralized peoples like the Konkomba were placed beneath those who had chiefs, with profound implications for land access and the the daily tenor of group relations. The result has been struggles that are played not just through acts of violence, but also through discursive claims to autochthony that are designed to trump each other. Benjamin Talton provides a dispassionate and historically-grounded analysis of a kind that has long been overdue. He shows how Konkomba actors sought to forge a common purpose and to contest their marginality, but he also subtly reveals how they were forced to work within the rules of an existing game. There has been a historiographical revolution in writing about Northern Ghana in recent years, and Talton has finally provided the missing piece of the puzzle."--Paul Nugent, Professor of Comparative African History and Director of the Centre of African Studies, University of Edinburgh “By analyzing the variegated history of relations between the Konkomba, a traditionally ‘chiefless’ society in Northern Ghana, and politically dominant neighboring chiefdoms, the author offers a stimulating discussion of ethnicity as an instrument of both domination and resistance, and of the ambivalent role of ‘custom’, tradition and chieftaincy in a modern African state. He shows that recent violent clashes in Northern Ghana can only be understood when seen in the context of a long history of social change and the political struggle of a marginalized group for political equality and inclusion. The book represents an important contribution to the growing body of studies that from a bottom-up perspective examine African agency under the colonial and post-colonial regimes.”--Carola Lentz, Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz