Power, rights, freedom, technocracy and postcolonialism in sub-Saharan Africa

  • Monika dos Santos, Prof University of South Africa
Keywords: Power, Rights, Freedom, Technocracy, Postcolonialism, Development, Sub-Saharan Africa


Economic ‘unfreedom’, in the form of extreme poverty, renders individuals prey to the violation of other kinds of freedoms. Historically, colonial activities by the West openly disrupted the rights of the impoverished in the rest of the world. In this paper I argue that subjectification and State overcoding has operated in a manner that has directly affected the discursive and non-discursive spaces within which rights operate, regulated by specific hierarchical arrangements of power via a State apparatus. What is ultimately experienced is a ‘thin equality’ and an ‘emaciated democracy’. As rights have been propagated as the codified consequence of social struggles in sub-Saharan countries, so too have bio-political and technocratic regulations intensified, resulting in brutal exploitation through unregulated markets particularly in the so-called developing world, resembling indentured labour and voluntary servitude. Ultimately, the asymmetry of power breeds a silent brutality – disparities of power generally prevent the sharing of various prospects. Free development and State overcoding, through extra-political means, may constitute an efficacious problem-solving practice that offers a way out of the bind.


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