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Language Repertoires and State Construction in Africa

ISBN-10: 0521033276

ISBN-13: 9780521033275

Edition: N/A

Authors: David D. Laitin, Peter Lange, Robert H. Bates, Ellen Comisso, Joel Migdal

List price: $57.00
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Description:

The author of two previous books on African political culture, David Laitin turns in this book to the study of language planning in Africa and the role of language politics in the process of state formation. Written in an engaging style, the book takes the reader into the complex web of language use in Africa today, where the average citizen must employ a multitude of different languages for use in the home, at school, in the marketplace, and on the job. African state governments must confront a number of difficult questions concerning language, such as which language of many should be the official national language--if any--and which language should be used in schools. Decisions on these questions are shown to be an important part of the process of state formation, and by making comparison to European cases, Laitin asks whether the complexity of language use in Africa today is symptomatic of early state construction, and if so, whether states must move inevitably toward a common language as they develop. He uses the logic of game theory to argue that a common language is not the inevitable solution, and proposes that in Africa the optimal solution to the language problem will be what he calls a 3 + 1 outcome, which will allow for multiple language use.
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Book details

List price: $57.00
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 1/18/2007
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 220
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.726
Language: English

Preface
Language Repertoires and the State
Language repertoires as political outcomes
Three theories explaining language outcomes
Do language outcomes matter?
Sociological and Political Forces Described
The micro dynamics of language use in contemporary Africa
Macro forces shaping the contemporary language situation in Africa
Strategic Theory Applied
Strategic theory and Africa's language future
Case studies from independent Africa
Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
Shaping the 3 + 1 language state
Notes
References
Index