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The End of Conceit


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Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • 1. The problem
  • 2. Identities
  • 3. Ideas
  • 4. Interpretations
  • Epilogue: Three questions
  • Bibliography
  • Index

About the Author

Patrick Chabal is currently professor in the department of history at King's College London. He was educated at Harvard, Columbia and Cambridge, where he was a research fellow. He has been a visiting professor in Italy, France, Switzerland, India, Portugal, the USA, Venezuela and South Africa. He is engaged in a long-term project combining the study of culture in comparative politics with a focus on Africa and an enquiry into the theory of the human and social sciences. His books include Africa: The Politics of Suffering and Smiling (2009), Angola: The Weight of History (2008), Culture Troubles: Politics and the Interpretation of Meaning (2006), A History of Postcolonial Lusophone Africa (2002), Africa Works: Disorder as Political Instrument (1999), Power in Africa (1992 and 1994) and Amilcar Cabral (1983 and 2002), a number of which have been translated into other European languages.


'The End of Conceit is a treatise on the grand failure of Western conceit - even with itself, let alone the irresistible plurality of the world rising around it. Patrick Chabal has written a most elegant denunciation and a most provocative and persuasive pathway to a more egalitarian global future.' Stephen Chan, School of Oriental and African Studies, author of The End of Certainty 'A brave book and a timely one. Well-organized, lucid, incisive, it offers penetrating criticisms of the assumptions of governments, academics and ordinary Westerners. Beginning with current examples of political and social problems, Patrick Chabal helps his readers to "think beyond theory".' Peter Burke, Emmanuel College Cambridge 'The End of Conceit is a timely book written with insight, commitment, and grace. Studied without being sophistic, deeply personal without being sentimental, it challenges still firmly held prejudices about the rationality of the human and social sciences. Most importantly, it offers a compelling argument that thinking through traditions of the non-Western world can provide critical perspectives from which Europe might reflect upon its contemporary cultural-political predicaments. Patrick Chabal's is a distinctive intelligence from which we have a great deal to learn.' David Scott, Columbia University 'This is an important book and is to be highly recommended.' Roger Mac Ginty, in The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs

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