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Property, Institutions, and Social Stratification in Africa
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Book description

In this book, Franklin Obeng-Odoom seeks to carefully explain, engage, and systematically question the existing explanations of inequalities within Africa, and between Africa and the rest of the world using insights from the emerging field of stratification economics. Drawing on multiple sources - including archival and historical material and a wide range of survey data - he develops a distinctive approach that combines key concepts in original institutional economics, such as reasonable value, property, and the distribution of wealth, with other insights into Africa's development and underdevelopment. While looking at the Africa-wide situation, Obeng-Odoom also analyzes the experiences of inequalities within specific countries. Comprehensive and engaging, Property, Institutions, and Social Stratification in Africa is a useful resource for teaching and research on Africa and the Global South.


‘Franklin Obeng-Odoom follows a growing cadre of scholarship generated by African scholars who are particularly engaging African economic issues in a distinctively, self-determined way. In doing exactly that, Property, Institutions, and Social Stratification in Africa is a brilliant book that intellectually grapples with the continent's sustained least developed ranking in the world. Be that as it may, the book also cleverly avoids – and actually effectively debunks – lazy, neoclassical explanations attributing Africa's poverty and inequality to its backwardness and traditional culture. Instead, Obeng-Odoom uniquely formulates a refreshing alternative thesis about African economic prospects using what he refers to as a new theory of black stratification economics. To this end, Obeng's deep structuralist analysis delicately reveals both the historical and continuing external expropriation and transfers of African land, labor, and capital as the source of the problem.'

Rita Kiki Edozie - The John W McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, UMass Boston

‘The vast majority of the dubious literature on this profound topic derives from the neo-colonial European-American conceit that the only problem with Nigeria is that it is not more like Norway, and the only problem with South Sudan is that it is not more like Switzerland. The tyranny of the World Bank ideology machine, aided by a compliant cadre of land-obsessed NGOs, has held the stage for too long. Franklin Obeng-Odoom will now teach what must be learned. An African voice on land policy? How novel.'

Daniel W. Bromley - University of Wisconsin-Madison

‘Franklin Obeng-Odoom's book should be read, both by academics working in the fields of development economics, growth, international economics, socioeconomics, and institutionalism, and by non-economists devoted to Africa … It is also a very good exposition, and students will be able to use the numerous presentations of key theoretical concepts and frameworks in the field of macroeconomics, international economics, economics of the commons, economics of agriculture, institutional economics and socioeconomics.’

Abdallah Zouache Source: African Review of Economics and Finance

‘In Property, Institutions and Social Stratification in Africa, Franklin Obeng-Odoom offers a new comprehensive exploration of inequalities within Africa and between Africa and the rest of the world, drawing on stratification economics. The book offers compelling and crucial insight into the deficiencies of mainstream economics when it comes to addressing the roots of poverty and inequality in African countries and provides new evidence of neocolonialism and exploitation of African resources across the continent …’

Heba E. Helmy Source: LSE Review of Books

‘… his book has the makings of a foundation text for the new narrative.’

Fred Harrison Source: Land & Liberty

‘It is highly recommended for teachers, researchers and students of African political economy around the globe.’

Lewis Abedi Asante Source: Africa Spectrum

‘I commend Obeng-Odoom for writing an impressive as well as an inspiring book that forces his readers to look again at what society takes for granted; what are good academics for and, above all, to provoke all of us to think deeply. He most certainly does that admirably.’

Samuel K. Andoh Source: African and Asian Studies

‘The ideas in Obeng-Odoom’s book should be taken seriously by students, researchers and policy makers interested in Africa and African development.’

Isaac Abotebuno Akolgo Source: Journal of African Political Economy and Development

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  • Introduction: The Global South in a “Compartmentalized World”
    pp 3-37
  • 1 - The Foundations for a New Beginning
    pp 38-62


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