Failing Westphalia: Demonstrating complex sovereignty through a study of the Angolan Oil Economy
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Abstract In contemporary studies of Africa the Westphalian style ‘sovereign state’ is often utilised as the primary analytical tool. As this concept of sovereignty presumes that the state is in a sense ‘all powerful’, it often glosses over the complex discourses that take place in the creation of effective networks of power within African countries. This dissertation will challenge this Westphalian concept of sovereignty in regards to Africa through examining the recent growth of resource extraction on the continent. Resource extraction brings in a diverse group of both internal and external actors who all seek to forge their own networks of power within the countries in which they operate. This reality requires a more nuanced concept of sovereignty, which holds more real world explanatory power. Through a case study of the rapid growth of oil extraction in Angola, this dissertation seeks to form a more subtle picture of Angolan sovereignty, with ramifications for Africa as a whole. What will be concluded is that Westphalian sovereignty does not hold the necessary explanatory power, with a theory of ‘complex sovereignty’ being seen as more appropriate.
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