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By Scarlett Cornelissen

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2009), which found that, generally, there seem to be more similarities than national variations across the sampled countries. Although one cannot dispute the tremendous influence of Western knowledge systems on Africa, in many cases ideas have not simply been imported uncritically. Instead, they have often been selectively appropriated and rearticulated within local contexts and discourses. The contention here is that such rearticulations constitute valuable innovations that may assist in the development of the field.

3 How, for example, are social networking sites such as Facebook impacting the ways in which African youth (at least those with access to the Internet) interact with each other and the world? Today, millions of people share their opinions on a range of issues with a global audience via blogs, Facebook, Twitter and other online media. The online activism during and following the elections in Iraq in 2010, for example, provided unprecedented insights into the political views of ordinary Iraqis. 4 This brings us to the lessons IR should be learning from the lived experiences of ordinary Africans.

In her contribution, Rita Abrahamsen focuses on the privatization of security in the African setting, exploring the role of both military private security agents, but also of new forms, such as commercialized security firms, vigilantism and privatized security spaces in Africa’s urban environment. She identifies global assemblages of private security with which small pockets of the continent are connected. Security privatization is a response to weakened state capacities, but also reflects the reconfiguration between the public and private domains, creating the space for a range of actors (both local and global) to produce new forms of security practices, institutions and governance.

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