SPECIAL EDITION: Revisiting the South African developmental impasse: the national neoliberal revolution. September 2013
The latest edition of ROAPE is now available on the Taylor and Francis website. VOL 40, ISSUE 138
. The edition reflects particularly on the persistence of dramatic inequalities in South Africa since the end of apartheid and includes articles by Aurelia Segatti and Nicolas Pons-Vignon, William Freund, Gertrude Makhaya and Simon Roberts, Firoz Khan, Karl von Holdt and Peter Alexander.
LIONEL CLIFFE AND COLIN MURRAY: In memory
We are in shock at the news of the deaths of two important members of the ROAPE family, Lionel Cliffe and Colin Murray.
Lionel was a founder-editor of ROAPE and, while he had been unwell, his death was not expected. He continued to work and participate in ROAPE and other Africanist activities, as well as his research, with his usual dedication and enthusiasm, and he will be greatly missed by all who knew him.
Lionel will be cremated at Grenoside Crematorium, 5 Skew Hill Lane, Grenoside, Sheffield, South Yorkshire, S35 8RZ on Monday 4th November at 12.30. The cremation will be followed by a celebration of his life, with reflections from friends and family, at Wortley Hall, Wortley Village, Wortley S35 7DB from 1.30pm. All those who knew Lionel are welcome to both or either event.
The family have asked for family flowers only, but donations in Lionel's memory may be given to the 'Lionel Cliffe Memorial Research Scholarship' to Co-operative Bank, sort code 089075, account no. 50181461. The ROAPE editorial working group are also discussing ways to commemorate his work and life, which includes renaming a new research grant the Lionel Cliffe Research Scholarship.
A Facebook page to share memories of Lionel has been set up. Please do post tributes, photos and messages here.
Colin Murray died on the 14th October and a celebration of his life was held on 28th October. Among other things, Colin had been an active and much loved member of the ROAPE editorial working group, and again, will be sorely missed.
For those wishing to make a tribute, Colin had asked that donations be made to Blythe House Hospice, Chapel-en-le-Frith, a place that provided him with excellent care and support in the final months of his life. Contact ROAPE for more details.
NEW READER: Conflict and Security in Africa, October 2013
More than any other part of the globe, Africa has become associated with conflict, insecurity and human rights atrocities. In the popular imagination and the media, overpopulation, environmental degradation and ethnic hatred dominate accounts of African violence, while in academic and policy-making circles, conflict and insecurity have also come to occupy centre stage, with resource-hungry warlords and notions of 'greed' and 'grievance' playing key explanatory roles. Since the attacks of 9/11, there has also been mounting concern that the continent's so-called 'ungoverned spaces' will provide safe havens for terrorists intent on destroying Western civilization. The Review of African Political Economy has engaged extensively with issues of conflict and security, both analysing on-going conflicts and often challenging predominant modes of explanation and interpretation. This Review of African Political Economy Reader provides a timely, comprehensive and critical contribution to contemporary debates about conflict and security on the continent. The first section, covers some of the continent's main post-Cold War conflicts and demonstrates their global connections. The articles also discuss the so-called 'resource curse', as well as the global arms trade, and reveal the complexities of the relationship between the economic and the political. The second section focuses on security as part of post-Cold War global governance, and discusses the effects of liberal peace-building as well as the link between development assistance and the 'war on terror'. The final section examines life as it continues in conditions of war and shows how insecurity reconfigures urban space, transforms social order, identities and authority.
ROAPE readers can be purchased from the website of the publishers Boydell and Brewer, which also provides an interview with the editor, Rita Abrahamsen.
POSITION STATEMENT: February 2013
Yes to egalitarian ‘open access’, no to ‘pay to publish’: A ROAPE position statement on Open Access
Recent policy changes, by research funding agencies and government, have forced journals such as ROAPE to reconsider the ways in which their readers access their content and researchers publish their work. A system of ‘Gold Open Access’, in which authors or their institutions pay for immediate online publication, is being foisted upon us. In a rapidly changing context, as funders, publishers, authors and journals debate how to respond, this statement sets out the principles that ROAPE’s Editorial Working Group wishes to see reflected in this new environment.
Technological changes have in recent years permanently revolutionised the ways in which readers access journals. Electronic distribution means the readership of journals has multiplied enormously. For a journal such as ROAPE, which sees its role as political as well as academic, the widening of its audience is welcome. Our African readership, within and outside universities, is strongly supportive of genuine ‘Open Access’.
It is recognised that such a system profoundly challenges the commercial basis of current publishing models and the financial basis on which most journals, including ROAPE, currently depend. A period of consultation and transition will therefore be necessary to establish a workable model of genuine Open Access. So-called ‘Green’ OA in which free access is ensured through self-archiving or in public repositaries must at the same time enable journals to maintain the practices that are their raison d’etre: assembling material according to collectively agreed goals (in our case a radical analysis of African society and political economy), together with anonymised peer review exclusively on the basis of intellectual excellence. Any resultant system must be based on these criteria, not on the self-interested defence of current journal or publisher income bases. Consultation must involve the active participation of non-western researchers and stakeholders, whose concerns have hitherto been ignored.
The potential gains of OA are fatally undermined by the ‘pay to publish’ principle that underlies ‘gold’ models of Open Access, recommended by the Finch Report in 2012 and endorsed by the UK government and its research councils. Gold models, whilst claiming to achieve open access to academic research, serve in practice to entrench academic inequality between and within nations; squander research funding on new publishing fees; and prop up an archaic and ultimately unsustainable model of academic publishing.
The disastrous potential effects of gold OA have been identified by its many critics. Firstly, some of the Creative Commons licences associated with gold OA threaten the ownership by intellectuals of their ideas and work. Secondly, gold models establish inequalities of access to journals, for both researchers and readers. Authors whose institutions are able to pay (a tiny minority of research-intensive western-based universities) will enable some academics in their employ to make their work freely available to all readers, whilst those who cannot pay will have their work imprisoned behind paywalls for lengthy periods, rendering it inherently second-class. Readers, the supposed beneficiaries of OA, will be denied open access to research which is not paid for in this way. Thirdly, gold OA threatens to take the power over whether, where and how to publish away from academics and places it in the hands of university bureaucrats and research funders.
For ROAPE and other African studies journals, a primary concern is to ensure accessibility for both readers and researchers on the continent. Whilst we welcome efforts by publishers to introduce ‘fee waivers’ for non-western researchers, the very need for such a scheme demonstrates that gold-based OA will increase existing inequalities between resource-poor African researchers and their western counterparts, divisions which we are committed to overcome. We will reject any form of OA which does not ensure equal access to all researchers, wherever they are based.
ROAPE has therefore determined that, for the time being, it will not support gold or other OA initiatives currently being launched by its publisher Taylor & Francis and other academic publishers. ROAPE will join other Africanist journals, the African Studies Association of the UK and other allied organisations to promote egalitarian access for both readers and researchers, and to reject the iniquitous gold model of OA, which threatens to commodify intellectual activity and to sow divisions between African and western researchers engaged in the common goal of understanding and critically analysing society and political economy.