Contemporary African Mediations of Affect and Access by Helene Strauss (University of the Free State)
Across Africa, new collectivities are shifting the terms within which access to economic opportunity, social belonging, and political agency have historically been understood. Recent years have seen powerful waves of civic mobilization sweep across the continent. Less prominent articulations of contemporary political desire have also been percolating through the diffuse experiences of the African everyday. As differential access to global capitalism and its promises folds into modes of subjection-and escape-that are hard to predict, those who exercise power find ever more ways of guarding the borders and memberships of privileged groups. This book turns to the critically entangled terms of affect and access as a basis for exploring emergent orientations in the field of African cultural theorizing. It pays especial attention to scholarship engaging with the multifaceted coordinates of political and social participation, where complex assemblages of affective attachment, exchange, and realignment work in concert with demands for socio-political and economic forms of access. This book was originally published as a special issue of Safundi.