chapter  5
Disengagement from the State in Africa: Reflections on the Experience of Ghana and Guinea
ByVictor Azarya, Naomi Chazan
Pages 27

This chapter investigates how individuals and groups in two African countries, Ghana and Guinea, have attempted to cope with the state by distancing themselves from it as a hedge against its instability and declining performance. Specifically, the chapter addresses three interrelated facets of the process of disengagement. First, what are the circumstances underlying the enfeeblement of the state and the reasons for initiating steps aimed at detachment from its activities. Second, what forms does disengagement from the state take. Third, what are the general implications of disengagement on state-society relations. In Ghana and Guinea independence was achieved in a state of euphoria and great popular support for the ruling elite who had brought the anticolonial struggle to its successful conclusion. Four major mechanisms of disengagement from the state, containing different combinations of social, economic, religious, political, and cultural elements, may be discerned in Ghana and Guinea.