Liberia in the Twenty-First Century: Issues and Perspectives

George Klay Kieh, Jr. (Editor)
Department of Political Science, University of West Georgia, Maple Street, Carrollton, GA, US

Series: Political, Economic and Security Issues of Africa
BISAC: POL053000

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Since the founding of the Liberian state in 1847, the country has faced several frontier issues, such as ethnic pluralism and inclusion, the elusive quest for democracy, decentralization, and socio-economic development. Cumulatively, the failure by the various state managers to address these and other major challenges occasioned an enduring civil conflict that imploded into mass insurrection on April 14, 1979, a military coup d’état on April 12, 1980, and two civil wars from 1989-1997, and 1999-2003, respectively. Significantly, these major conflict events had profound ramifications, including the deaths of thousands of people, massive internal displacement, refugee crises, the destruction of the already underdeveloped physical infrastructure and the productive sectors of the economy, and the collapse of governance.

Against this background, this book explores some of these frontier issues—the travails of the peripheral state, ethnic pluralism and inclusion, the quest for democracy, decentralization and governance, the monocrop economy and its resulting implications for the crises of underdevelopment, public health, security sector reform, and post-conflict reconstruction—that have and continue to face Liberia in the twenty-first century. This book then makes policy-relevant recommendations for addressing these challenges, as the country strives to address its seemingly unending cycle of “missed opportunities” and “false starts.”
(Imprint: Nova)

Preface

Chapter 1. Introduction: Framing the Liberian Condition in the Twenty-First Century
(George Klay Kieh, Jr., Interim Chair of the Department of Criminology and Professor of Political Science, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA, US)

Chapter 2. The Travails of the Liberian State
(George Klay Kieh, Jr., Interim Chair of the Department of Criminology and Professor of Political Science, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA, US)

Chapter 3. Ethnicity and Political Stability in Liberia
(Augustine Konneh, Dean of the Graduate School and Professor of International Relations, African Methodist Episcopal University, Liberia)

Chapter 4. Democratization in Liberia
(George Klay Kieh, Jr., Interim Chair of the Department of Criminology and Professor of Political Science, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA, US)

Chapter 5. Political Decentralization in Liberia
(Emmanuel Oritsejafor, Chair of the Department of Political Science, North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC, US)

Chapter 6. The Liberian Economy and the Crises of Underdevelopment
(Geepu Nah Tiepoh, Head of the Department of Economics and Political Science, Vanier College, Montreal, Québec, CA)

Chapter 7. The Liberian Public Health System
(Veronica P. Fynn Bruey, Lecturer at the School of Law, University of Cape Coast, Cape Coast, Ghana)

Chapter 8. Security Sector Reform in Liberia
(Thomas Jaye, Director of the Policy Support and Consultancy Unit, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Accra, Ghana)

Chapter 9. Breaking with the Past? Reconstructing Liberia after Violent Conflict
(Samuel Wai Johnson, Jr., Visiting Instructor of Economics, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA, US)

Chapter 10. Repositioning Liberia in the Twenty-First Century: Lessons and Insights
(George Klay Kieh, Jr., Interim Chair of the Department of Criminology and Professor of Political Science, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA, US)

About the Authors

Index

"This book is a significant multidisciplinary effort to bring together the range of issues, which Liberia faced as it entered the 21st century. It marshals empirical data and draws from the experiences of many of the authors who are themselves scholar-activists and whose perspectives resonate with the tragedy and missed opportunities of the past and the possibilities that can be seized for 21st century Liberia. This book provides an excellent basis for rigorous review of Liberia’s immediate past and a strong platform for bold and innovative thinking and action moving forward." - Amos C. Sawyer, Former President of the Interim Government of Liberia & former Professor & Dean of Liberia College, University of Liberia

"Liberia in the Twenty-First Century is a very engaging and timely collection of essays. For the benefit, among others, of opinion leaders and policy makers in Liberia. It covers all of the pertinent areas—the state, social cleavages and reconciliation, the democratization process, decentralization of power, the economy and crisis of development, public health, and the security sector. The informed perspectives and prescriptive analyses of each of these topics lay bare the challenges as Liberia struggles into the new century. The civil war marked Liberia’s transition from the 20th to the 21st century, and added to the Liberian entity a significantly new layer of challenges. So that to the challenges exposed by the 1980 coup was now added new tasks of reconciliation in the wake of civil war. The drama of the coup compelled Liberians into serious reflections on their journey as a people. Further, the devastation of civil war has left Liberians with no option but to rebuild their national polity in creative reconciling ways. I think this book significantly contributes to this effort." - Elwood Dunn, Professor Emeritus of Political Science, University of the South & former Editor of the Liberian Studies Journal

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