In Africa, activities transgressing established laws and norms are proliferating. They are undermined by tensions between normative and practical rules. This panel expects to bring some insights into the normative complexity of activities that overstep the legitimate frames of collective action.
The pioneer work of Danièle Kintz in 1987 has opened the way to the fine analysis of the gap between normative rules and practical norms. Today, this issue has become an interesting field of research for social sciences. Indeed, the widespread weakening of African States regulations and the "informalization" of societies and economies have led to norms' transgressions and building of illegal spheres of action. In rural and urban areas, social practices explored the margins of normativity, creating relatively closed areas of uncertainty where limits are blurred. Therefore, activities (social, economical, political, religious) transgressing established laws and norms are proliferating. All of them are undermined by tensions between normative and practical rules. The contributions awaited in this panel are expected to bring some insights into the normative complexity of activities that overstep in different ways the legitimate frames of action: How practical norms regulating illegal or underground activities (adultery, smuggle, counterfeit, bribery, cheat, bootleg, log rolling, etc.) are interconnected with official norms supposed to sanction them? How normative rules, effective rules and practice interfere? What principle is called upon? What are the ethical justifications given to the gap between effective rules and practices? How supremacy between different and contradictory sets of norms is established? How to be sure if a visible transgression of norms is not the effective practice of a hidden set of rules? This field of research is promising for it investigates important actual issues concerning the social regulation of collective action.