Democratization in Africa: The Theory and Dynamics of Political Transitions

By Earl Conteh-Morgan | Go to book overview

1
Introduction: Democratization as a
Transitional Stage

We seem to be faced with a pendulum movement in history, swinging from absolutism to democracy, from democracy back to absolute dictatorship. . . .

Arthur Koestler Darkness At Noon, Book II Part 1

The process of democratization unfolding in many developing countries since the end of the Cold War has been plagued by a series of election and post-election fiascos. There have been deadlocks, reverses, failures, and mounting complexities in a number of countries, mainly because some of the Third World political actors (incumbent regime, the military, ruling party, or main political opposition) do not want to lose in the power political struggles. Accordingly, the principal concern of this book lies in the analysis of democratization unfolding in many developing countries particularly as a process associated with the late 1980s and the end of the Cold War.

While many countries have announced their willingness to implement political reforms, or have already held successful elections, still a large number are plagued by political uncertainties, making them volatile and explosive in relation to collective political violence. On this turbulent era in Third World politics, with its heightened potential for increased political violence, we focus our analysis.

Although the scope of the drive toward democratization may not be considered great by some observers, many Third World countries are nonetheless undergoing a tumultuous politico-economic change that cannot but capture the attention of power transition theorists and others interested in the transformation of value systems in developing countries. 1 Many Third World politico-economic systems have either experienced entrenched coercive rule and/or political turbulence (riots, coups, civil wars, or even revolution) over the

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Democratization in Africa: The Theory and Dynamics of Political Transitions
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations ix
  • Preface xi
  • 1 - Introduction: Democratization as a Transitional Stage 1
  • Notes 10
  • 2 - Explaining Democratization: An Alternative to Existing Conceptualizations 13
  • Notes 30
  • 3 - Institutional Structures and Modern Authoritarianism 33
  • 4 - Independence and the Legitimization of Authoritarian Rule 53
  • Notes 70
  • 5 - Political Insecurity and the Power Political Problem 73
  • Notes 89
  • 6 - The Ethnopolitical-Democratization Conflict Nexus 93
  • Notes 114
  • 7: Military Corporate Interests and Democratization 119
  • 8 - External Imperatives: International Donors and Democratization 143
  • Notes 162
  • 9 - Conclusion 167
  • Notes 180
  • References 183
  • Index 193
  • About the Author 198
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