The last decade has been one of crisis for Africa. There is a general recognition that neither African governments nor foreign aid agencies have made a significant impact on the quality of life for rural peoples. Given the enormous variety of Africa, the search for universal, macro-level solutions is inappropriate. A richer and more complex picture emerges from micro-level studies of the strategies which African rural peoples are using to survive the current crisis. This study focuses on the relationship between local action and macro-event, arguing for flexibility as an ideology as well as a strategy. Presenting an alternative framework for analysis, indigenous African scholars use case studies to explore the complex social relationships of power. -from Editors