Jean Godefroy Bidima’s La Palabre examines the traditional African institution of palaver as a way to create dialogue and open exchange in an effort to resolve conflict and promote democracy. In the wake of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commissions and the gacaca courts in Rwanda, Bidima offers a compelling model of how to develop an African public space where dialogue can combat misunderstanding. This volume, which includes other essays on legal processes, cultural diversity, memory, and the internet in Africa, offers English-speaking readers the opportunity to become acquainted with a highly original and important postcolonial thinker.
Foreword Souleymane Bachir Diagne
Preface to the English Edition Jean Godefroy Bidima
Introduction: Speech, Belief, Power Laura Hengehold
La Palabre: The Legal Authority of Speech
1. The Public Space of Palabre
2. A Political Paradigm
3. Convergent Suspicions
4. A Difficult Place in Political Thought
1. Rationalities and Legal Processes in Africa
2. Strategies for "Constructing Belief" in the African Public Space: "The Colonization of the Life-world"
3. African Cultural Diversity in the Media
4. Books between African Memory and Anticipation
5. The Internet and the African Academic World
"Law and the Public Sphere in Africa presents a valuable philosophical argument that will most certainly be of interest to those working on the topics of postconflict justice, peacebuilding, and democratization in Africa."
African Conflict and Peacebuilding Review
"Opens promising vistas for legal and political discourse. Its multidisciplinary orientation and the erudition of the author make for a text that has crossover appeal."
"Bidima has done a very important work here which deserves the critical attention of philosophers, political theorists, legal scholars as well the general public."
Journal of Modern African Studies
"[Casts] an invigorating light on law, politics, public language and social practice in modern Africa, raising searching questions not only about the heritage of colonialism but about the various postcolonial policies and theories that have aimed to overcome the problems of that heritage.85.2 May 2015"