Government, community and the university in Africa today: the case of the National University of Lesetho
MetadataShow full item record
This study is an investigation into relations of power between government, community and the university in Africa today. The purpose of the study is to examine the nature of contestations and contradictions among triadic actors in respect of the university in Africa today. The principal research question it seeks to address is: what kind of contestations and contradictions of normative and ideological principles take place in the Triad of government, community and the university, via the case study of the National University of Lesotho (NUL)? Key objectives of the research included developing a new interpretive framework for the study of Africa and African Studies; examining how triadic contestations are a product of history; showing the preponderance of discourses of representation in universities in Africa today; and analysing the various forms of resistance immanent in universities in Africa today, occasioned by pervasive and dispersed power. To attempt to address the principal question and to meet the stated objectives, the thesis deploys key pillars of Postcolonial Theory (PC) namely representation, hybridity, agency and resistance together with the decoloniality variant through the power-knowledge-being-discourse nexus to examine relations and technologies of power in the interplay between the Government of Lesotho (GOL), the Community (global and local) and the National University of Lesotho (NUL) from 1945 to 2014. A triangulated approach was adopted in this study. Data was collected from several archival and secondary sources as well as from a wide cross-section of informants from the GOL, the Community and NUL. Multiple methodological strategies were used to collect such data – observation, interviews and unstructured questionnaires. Data was then analysed qualitatively using the grounded theory approach together with content, textual and discourse analysis methods. Theoretically and conceptually, the study suggests new approaches and new dimensions to Africa and African Studies and Higher Education Studies (HES) in order to enhance our understanding of contemporary African politics and society particularly in the 21st century. It makes a case for seeing the relations between state and non-state actors as complex, constitutive and interconnected transactions in net-like spaces which are forever evolving due to the ubiquity of „power to‟, „power with‟ and „power within‟. Findings of the study show that there are complex contestations and contradictions of both normative and ideological principles among triadic actors – not only over the meaning and purpose of the university in Africa today, but also over its control and governance. This I have demonstrated by, first, providing a theoretical/conceptual framework as well as a historical context for interpreting and understanding these contestations; and second, by empirically validating the preponderance of discourses of representation and „othering‟, hybridity, agency and resistance in the Triad in general, and in a Higher Education (HE) institution (NUL) in particular, across space and time. On the basis of these findings, I call for a constructive reading of PC which must be complemented by decoloniality theory, hence proposal for a new interpretive framework, the Integrated Postcolonial Framework (IPCF) that can respond better to complex relations of power. I also highlight some limitations of the study and also make some recommendations for further research in order to bring to the fore more concrete data regarding the purpose and mission of a university in Africa in a fast decolonising yet globalising environment.