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African extractive economies and connected histories of globalization: a case study of the 'Africa' bar in Paris

Dezalay, Sara ORCID: 2017. African extractive economies and connected histories of globalization: a case study of the 'Africa' bar in Paris. SSRN 10.2139/ssrn.3004973

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With the 2008 global financial crisis and Chinese economic growth, the African continent has re-emerged as a source of mineral riches, a boon for the expansion of global markets, and a new site of legal globalization. Yet - discussions on these developments tend to reflect the protracted political and development ‘dependency’ of African states, with lawyers involved in corporate dealings on the continent either denounced as mercenaries at the service of neo-colonial ‘looting’ or idealized as missionaries of the rule of law. The ‘Africa’ Bar in Paris - the empirical focus of this presentation - emerges as a microcosm of connected and enduring histories that position lawyers operating on the African continent in a ‘cross-roads’ space between politics and economics, shaped by the legacies of the ties between Paris the métropole and its former African colonies. A key intermediary site for corporations seeking to extract natural resources on the continent and invest in its emerging markets, Paris was also a beachhead for the expansion of US-led globalization of corporate law in Europe from the 1980s. On the basis of biographical interviews, this presentation traces the social and professional structure of this ‘Africa’ Bar in Paris. Dominated by predominantly French, male, lawyers operating in the Paris branches of major US and UK law firms, this Bar operates under the contradictory shadow of the clout of the Françafrique and the restructuring of commodities markets under the impetus of financialization and global regulatory frameworks. These on-going developments highlight the continuous connections between corporate and state power in the trajectory of the state and legal markets on the African continent and help trace the stakes of an open research agenda on extractive economies, knowledge, law and politics on the African continent.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Department of Politics and International Relations (POLIR)
Publisher: Elsevier
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 2 August 2017
Last Modified: 06 Nov 2023 17:20

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