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date: 17 July 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article provides a critical survey of the contemporary history of civil society in sub-Saharan Africa. It discusses criticisms on the alleged weaknesses of contemporary civil society associations, especially urban-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and highlights the re-emergence of old anxieties about the capacity of civil society to expound African socialities. It concludes that while the early promise of civil society may have been exaggerated there is equal danger in inflating current levels of disillusionment with a set of ideas that retain real analytic and practical utility.

Keywords: civil society, sub-Saharan Africa, contemporary history, NGOs, African socialities

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