chapter
12 Pages

Introduction

Except-Africa and Its Counternarratives
ByEmery Roe

This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book illustrates the overall approach by developing counternarratives that work against that most famous of development narratives, Except-Africa itself. The starting point of Except-Africa is its recurring theme: “There can be no development without alternatives.” African rural development is genuinely complex, it is saturated with development scenarios deployed to stabilize decision making in the face of that complexity. One of the abiding ironies of rural development practice—and not just in Africa—is that narrative and complexity are deeply reciprocal. Except-Africa shows, through the widest range of case studies yet assembled, how this can be done for rural Africa generally and for Africa’s rangelands specifically. The book presents a case study and counternarrative from Zimbabwe of a complex local government reform for “decentralization” there. It provides the most innovative counternarrative of the last several decades to conventional ways of thinking about sub-Saharan pastoralism.