Cultures of Innovation of the African Poor. Common Roots, Shared Traits, Joint Prospects? On the Articulation of Multiple Modernities in African Societies and Black Diasporas in Latin America

GIGA Working Paper No 25

49 Pages Posted: 1 Aug 2006 Last revised: 16 Aug 2012

See all articles by Dirk Kohnert

Dirk Kohnert

GIGA - Hamburg, Institute of African Affairs

Date Written: July 1, 2006

Abstract

The globalized Western culture of innovation, as propagated by major aid institutions, does not necessarily lead to empowerment or improvement of the well-being of the stakeholders. On the contrary, it often blocks viable indigenous innovation cultures. In African societies and African Diasporas in Latin America, cultures of innovation largely accrue from the informal, not the formal sector. Crucial for their proper understanding is a threefold structural differentiation: between the formal and informal sector, within the informal sector, according to class, gender or religion, and between different transnational social spaces. Different innovation cultures may be complementary, mutually reinforcing, or conflicting, leading in extreme cases even to a 'clash of cultures' at the local level. The repercussions of competing, even antagonistic agencies of innovative strategic groups are demonstrated, analyzing the case of the African poor in Benin and the African Diasporas of Brazil and Haiti.

Keywords: Economic development, cultural change, innovations, social structure, African Diaspora, Benin, Brazil, Haiti

JEL Classification: O31, Z1, E26, Z12, Z13, O57

Suggested Citation

Kohnert, Dirk, Cultures of Innovation of the African Poor. Common Roots, Shared Traits, Joint Prospects? On the Articulation of Multiple Modernities in African Societies and Black Diasporas in Latin America (July 1, 2006). GIGA Working Paper No 25. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=921535 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.921535

Dirk Kohnert (Contact Author)

GIGA - Hamburg, Institute of African Affairs ( email )

German Inst. of Global and Area Studies (GIGA)
Neuer Jungfernstieg 21
D-20354 Hamburg
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://dirk2011.jimdo.com/

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