The Nordic Africa Institute – Publications

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  • 1. Adetula, Victor
    et al.
    Bereketeab, Redie
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    Laakso, Liisa
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    Levin, Jörgen
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    The legacy of Pan-Africanism in African integration today2020Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Pan-Africanism was a vital force in the decolonisation and liberation struggles of the African continent. Today, some regional integration initiatives are part of the legacy of Pan-Africanism. Nevertheless, a retreat in Pan-Africanist consciousness justifies the on-going reform of the African Union and other related platforms for African regional integration, peace and development.

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  • 2. Kariuki, Esther
    et al.
    Kratou, Hajer
    Ajman University, Ajman, United Arab Emirates.
    Laakso, Liisa
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    Attacks on scholars a threat to democracy in Africa: the link between decreased academic freedom and the stagnation of democracy2022Report (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    According to the Academic Freedom Monitoring Project, the percentage of attacks on higher education is higher in Africa than in any other region. And with Covid lockdowns, the academic freedom at African universities has been challenged even further. Given the strong links between academic freedom and democracy, organisations working with democratic development in Africa should take action to support and protect scholars at risk.

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  • 3.
    Kratou, Hajer
    et al.
    College of Business Administration, Finance Department, Ajman University, Ajman, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
    Laakso, Liisa
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    The impact of academic freedom on democracy in Africa2021In: Journal of Development Studies, ISSN 0022-0388, E-ISSN 1743-9140Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 4.
    Laakso, Liisa
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    Academic freedom and democracy in African countries: the first study to track the connection2022In: The ConversationArticle in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 5.
    Laakso, Liisa
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    Academic Mobility as Freedom in Africa2020In: Politikon, ISSN 0258-9346, E-ISSN 1470-1014, Vol. 47, no 4, p. 442-459Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 6.
    Laakso, Liisa
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit. The Council of Finnish Academies.
    Akateeminen vapaus tutkimuskohteena: havaintoja Afrikasta2023In: Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae, ISSN 2953-9048, Vol. 2, no 1, p. 139-159Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    News about violations of academic freedom have increased with the erosion of civil liberties and the decline of democratization. However, there is little empirical research on the political effects of academic freedom. There is also no consensus on the exact definition of the term. In this article, the meanings of academic freedom are approached through literature and practical advocacy work, and by presenting the indicator published in 2020 by the Varieties of Democracy database. As an example, we examine research results on the link between academic freedom and democracy in Africa, where the university institution has developed in the midst of rapid political changes. Based on interview material, we will focus on the experiences of scholars in Ghana, Cameroon, Kenya and Zimbabwe. Research data shows that academic freedom and higher education support democratic development far into the future. That is why they deserve long-term support through development cooperation.

  • 7.
    Laakso, Liisa
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    Dan Hodgkinson, “Politics on Liberation’s Frontiers: Student Activist Refugees, International Solidarity, and the Struggle for Zimbabwe, 1965-79.” The Journal of African History 62, no. 1 (March 2021): 99–1232023In: H-Diplo Article Reviews, no 1155, p. 1-3Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 8.
    Laakso, Liisa
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    Electoral Violence and Political Competition in Africa2019In: Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Politics, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Electoral violence in Africa has garnered a lot of attention in research on African politics. Violence can be the result of manipulation of the electoral process or a reaction to that manipulation. While there is an agreement to distinguish it from the wider political violence by its timing with elections and motivation to influence their outcome, the analysis of its types, content, and impacts varies. There are different assessments of whether repetition of elections reduces violence or not. Elections in Africa are more often marred with violence than elections in other continents, but there is lots of variation between African countries, within countries, and even from one election to another. In addition to well-judged use and development of the existing datasets, qualitative methods and case studies are also needed. Much of the literature combines both approaches. In the analysis of the factors, causes, and contexts of electoral violence, researchers utilize distinct frameworks: emphasizing historical experiences of violence, patrimonial rule and the role of the “big man,” political economy of greed and grievance, as well as weak institutions and rule of law. All of them point to intensive competition for state power. Preelection violence often relates to the strategies of the government forces and their supporters using their powers to manipulate the process, while post-election riots typically follow in the form of spontaneous reactions among the ranks of the losing opposition. Elections are not a cause of the intensive power competition but a way to organize it. Thus, electoral violence is not an anomaly but rather a manifestation of the ongoing struggle for free and fair elections. It will be an issue for researchers and practitioners alike in the future as well

  • 9.
    Laakso, Liisa
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    Partnerschaft und ihre Diskrepanzen2021In: WeltTrends : das außenpolitische Journal, ISSN 0944-8101, no 175, p. 26-31Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 10.
    Laakso, Liisa
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    Political science in Africa: freedom, relevance and impact2024In: Political science in Africa: freedom, relevance, impact / [ed] Liisa Laakso and Siphamandla Zondi, London ; Uppsala: Zed Books ; Nordiska Afrikainstitutet , 2024, p. 1-12Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 11.
    Laakso, Liisa
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    Riset petakan hubungan antara kebebasan akademik dan demokrasi: studi kasus pada negara-negara Afrika2023In: The ConversationArticle in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 12.
    Laakso, Liisa
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    Suomen kannattaa jatkaa pehmeää vaikuttamista Afrikassa2023In: Helsingin Sanomat, no 2023-03-17, p. 1Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 13.
    Laakso, Liisa
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    The Evolution of the Political Dimension of EU Co-operation with Eastern Africa2023In: State Politics and Public Policy in Eastern Africa: A Comparative Perspective / [ed] Gedion Onyango, Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2023, p. 435-452Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    A significant element in the EU co-operation with Eastern Africa relates to the EU’s aspirations to support democracy worldwide. The Treaty of Nice of the EU (2001) explicitly stipulated that promoting human rights and freedoms should be part of all EU development and other co-operation with developing countries. This principle gained prominence and an explicit codification in the Cotonou Agreement between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) between 2000 and 2022. The year 2022, when a new agreement is to be signed, is a good time to look back at the application of these principles. Has the EU been able to support democracy in Eastern Africa? To this end, this chapter pays attention to both positive and negative democratisation instruments. The positive instruments like the election observation missions (EOM) appear to be the public image of EU democracy support before everything else. Economic sanctions, particularly smart sanctions and suspension of development aid, are the most important negative instruments. Together, these instruments have become an increasingly important part of the AU and EU’s attempts to prevent the erosion of democratic institutions in its Eastern African partner countries.

  • 14.
    Laakso, Liisa
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    The social science foundations of public policy in Africa2022In: Routledge Handbook of Public Policy in Africa / [ed] Gedion Onyango, New York: Routledge, 2022, p. 23-33Chapter in book (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Public policy is a window into social sciences’ evolution and the multidisciplinary foundation of policy studies globally, particularly in African universities and research organisations. Training in policymaking was useful for the colonial rule, but specific degree programs became popular only after independence and, more recently, with acute needs in public service delivery. In research, the disciplinary scope of social sciences has widened from anthropology to political economy, development and political science. While the increasing local research competence diversified knowledge production, the underlying academic traditions were not monolithic either. Pluralism of the approaches and links to policymaking-built capacity for ambitious theoretical and critical research. Governments and international development cooperation agencies’ active role in public policy research’s institutionalisation has facilitated besides conditioning its content. The participatory approach has brought the voice of intended target communities to the social research work, enhancing policy planning and implementation. Although freedom of research remains a concern, the instrumental value of public policy education for the governments has remained central.

  • 15.
    Laakso, Liisa
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    Vaarantavatko ihmisoikeusloukkaukset ja pakotteet tutkimusyhteistyön – vai tekevätkö ne siitä entistä tärkeämpää?2022In: Tieteessä tapahtuu, ISSN 1239-6540, Vol. 40, no 3Article in journal (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 16.
    Laakso, Liisa
    et al.
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    Hallberg Adu, Kajsa
    KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.
    ‘The unofficial curriculum is where the real teaching takes place’: faculty experiences of decolonising the curriculum in Africa2023In: Higher Education, ISSN 0018-1560, E-ISSN 1573-174XArticle in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper analyses faculty experiences tackling global knowledge asymmetries by examining the decolonisation of higher education in Africa in the aftermath of the 2015 ‘Rhodes Must Fall’ student uprising. An overview of the literature reveals a rich debate on defining ‘decolonisation’, starting from a critique of Eurocentrism to propositions of alternate epistemologies. These debates are dominated by the Global North and South Africa and their experiences of curriculum reform. Our focus is on the experiences of political scientists in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, and Zimbabwe. These countries share the same Anglophone political science traditions but represent different political trajectories that constitute a significant condition for the discipline. The 26 political scientists we interviewed acted toward increasing local content and perspectives in their teaching, as promoted in the official strategies of the universities. They noted that what was happening in lecture halls was most important. The academic decolonisation debate appeared overambitious or even as patronising to them in their own political context. National politics affected the thematic focus of the discipline both as far as research topics and students’ employment opportunities were concerned. Although university bureaucracies were slow to respond to proposed curricula changes, new programmes were approved if there was a market-based demand for them. International programs tended to be approved fastest. Political economy of higher education plays a role: dependency on foreign funding, limited national resources to conduct research and produce publications vis-à-vis international competition, and national quality assurance standards appeared to be most critical constraints for decolonising the curriculum.

  • 17.
    Laakso, Liisa
    et al.
    Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland.
    Hautaniemi, PetriDepartment of Development Policy, Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Helsinki, Finland.
    Diasporas, Development and Peacemaking in the Horn of Africa2014Collection (editor) (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Exiled populations, who increasingly refer to themselves as diaspora communities, hold a strong stake in the fate of their countries of origin. In a world becoming ever more interconnected, they engage in 'long-distance politics' towards, send financial remittances to and support social development in their homelands. Transnational diaspora networks have thus become global forces shaping the relationship between countries, regions and continents.

    This important intervention, written by scholars working at the cutting edge of diaspora and conflict, challenges the conventional wisdom that diaspora are all too often warmongers, their time abroad causing them to become more militant in their engagement with local affairs. Rather, they can and should be a force for good in bringing peace to their home countries.

    Featuring in-depth case studies from the Horn of Africa, including Somalia and Ethiopia, this volume presents an essential rethinking of a key issue in African politics and development.

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  • 18.
    Laakso, Liisa
    et al.
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    Kariuki, Esther
    Lund University, Lund, Sweden.
    Political Science Knowledge and Electoral Violence: Experiences From Kenya and Zimbabwe2023In: Forum for Development Studies, ISSN 0803-9410, E-ISSN 1891-1765, Vol. 50, no 1, p. 59-81Article in journal (Refereed)
  • 19.
    Laakso, Liisa
    et al.
    The Nordic Africa Institute, Research Unit.
    Zondi, SiphamandlaUniversity of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, South Africa.
    Political science in Africa: freedom, relevance, impact2024Collection (editor) (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Bringing together African and international scholars, this book gives an account of the present state of the discipline of political science in Africa - generating insights into its present and future trajectories, and assessing the freedom with which it is practiced.

    Tackling subjects including the decolonization of the discipline, political scientists as public intellectuals, and the teaching of political science, this diverse range of perspectives paints a detailed picture of the impact and relevance of the political science discipline on the continent during the struggles for democratization, and the influence it continues to exert today.

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1 - 19 of 19
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