Public Culture by Achille Mbembe

Jane M M By Jane M M, 13th Aug 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Books>Society, Politics & Philosophy

This is a review of the article titled public culture written by a popular scholar Achille Mbembe. It focuses more on politics and how politicians control their subjects once they get into power.

Public Culture by Achille Mbembe

Achille Mbembe has done a remarkable job of exposing how leaders abuse power in the post-colonial world. Despite the fact that some nations have achieved independence, to them “real freedom” is far from being attained due to the existing forms of leadership. Political leaders are the primary holders, controllers and distributors of power and resources in a particular territory. They therefore make and implement the rules which govern their subjects. Although the rules may appear overly used, the subjects/subordinates in most cases may have no choice but to abide by them.
Mbembe has articulated various ways in which power can compel its subject to ritualistically perform it within and through the everyday practices. He claims that in the process of its practice, power does not actually lay claims to its subjects through coercion and violence. However, this “coercive” power does compel its subjects to re-articulate it through a convivial participation in simulation of that power. In almost all instances, the very process of confirmation may at times become a site for delicate de-legitimation of state power. It’s almost beyond our imagination how the exercise of confirmation re-authorizes power while at the same time exposes its vulnerability. Mbembe claims that vulnerability results to power increasing its violence.
In his article, Mbembe has constantly demonstrated how those in powers have continued to prey upon their citizens. This predation indicates how subjects are consumed or violated by a perverse and often legitimized power structure which saps all their vitalities. In Africa for instance, the politics of the belly are on the rise. Africa politics and politicians do not conform to the notion of the predominant institutionalized western type state system and a performance based understanding of leaders and the state. To some, politics is more of a game played beyond institutionalized regulations in a western sense. Moreover, power is centralized in one individual meaning that he can easily apply it for his self-interest and his loyal supporters.
I read this article on and found it very insightful


Citizen, Cultural Settings, Politicians, Politics Of The Belly, Public Culture

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author avatar Jane M M
My areas of focus include issues facing women, family and friends stories, children experiences, personal life experiences,daily events around the world among others.

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