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Accepted paper:

How spaces owned by elites in Africa and Asia have become the most important areas for the Lions Clubs association.


Jean-Frederic de Hasque (Université Catholique de Louvain)

Paper long abstract:

This contribution consists of the analysis of an association and its members. The purpose is to show that knowledge does not only belong to the academic world, held by professors in a school or an university, but that it is a capacity created by relations between individuals. The goal is to show that the mastery of knowledge is also the main concern of an association. Knowledge is the ability to built and express a discourse, manage members, protect or build an influence zone, it's political ! In this contribution, the build of the discourse will show the influence of North, and struggles between Africa and Asia. For a decade, "Global South" members of the Lions Clubs International ensure the dynamism of the 100 hundred years' old "Global North" club of 1.5 million members. By rejuvenating the membership, and enlarging the area of philanthropic actions, "the guys from the south" become major players. They adapt the "Northern model" to satisfy the International Board of Trustee in Chicago. Ethnographic data collected since 2011 (Benin), 2015 (Congo) 2020 (South Africa) will show their greedy interest and fascination for a north American ruled association. - Be a member prove your ability, because you're choosen for your capacities, after formations, exams, and finally a vote. - African and Asian members share an interest in donations and media coverage of donations. During international meetings, members make public announcements, proclaiming with applause how much money they will give. $ 10,000, $ 15,000, $ 500,000… - Lions Clubs creates with specific dress code, medals, flags and pennant a contemporary 'liturgy' that emphasizes, values pride and honor of the highest members: « You know, you have to put your hand in your pocket when you're a leader. It's one of the unwritten rules.", said a beninese Lion . - It reveals that African and Asian leaders built their international status through "Global North" standards. On the other hand, it raises the question of the use of cunning as a strategy to infiltrate a Western board of trustee by pretending to accept the rules. And tells us, finally, that the desire to be part of this 34-seat Council will lead to heavy fighting between the Asian and African members against the Americans and the Europeans, who will restore their former colonial relations with certain African or Asian leaders.

panel D26
Multiplicity of learning events: the relationality of learning in Africa and beyond