Publics in Africa in a Digital Age
Across Africa, digital media are providing scholars with a reason and opportunity for revisiting the question, and the analytical lens, of publics with new vigour and less normative baggage. This book brings together a rich set of empirically grounded analyses of the diverse digital spaces and networks of communication springing up across the Eastern African region.
The contributions offer a plural set of reflections on whether and how we can usefully think about these spaces and networks as convening publics, where citizens come together to discuss matters of common interest. The authors make clear the need to unshackle such studies from slavish acceptance of outsiders' prescriptions on what constitutes desirable publics. They highlight the importance of being attentive to rapidly changing everyday realities across Africa in which people are coming together around the circulation of ideas in ways that include digital means of communications. In so doing, the contributions bring forward new ways of thinking about, through and with publics, alongside other heritages in Africanist scholarship that have continued salience. Looking outwards from the region, such different perspectives on our digitally mediated world offer theoretical novelty that advances how we think about the notion of publics and their political significance.
This book was originally published as a special issue of the Journal of Eastern African Studies .
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