Critical Perspectives in Politics and Socio-Economic Development in Ghana

Critical Perspectives in Politics and Socio-Economic Development in Ghana

Critical Perspectives in Politics and Socio-Economic Development in Ghana

Critical Perspectives in Politics and Socio-Economic Development in Ghana


This volume provides a comprehensive and integrated analysis of Ghanaian politics, economy and society, outlining tensions, dilemmas and prospects that the country has to contend with. The chapters critically examine the performance and prospects of democratic institutions and processes; responses to, and impact of, economic policies and programs; and how culture intersects with the preceding developments to shape socio-economic and political institutions and practices. The collection is divided into four thematic sections:

Politics, the State and Democratic Consolidation

Economic Crisis and Neo-Liberal Reforms: Responses and Implications Indigenous Institutions and the Shaping of Development

Culture, Indigenous Knowledge and Development

It combines rich, recent, empirical material with sophisticated theoretical analyses, and brings unique interdisciplinary perspectives to bear on the issues examined.


In the 1950s and 1960s, there was an optimistic tone in the articulation of the relationship between the state and the media in Africa. the general view was that “media influence could be a magic multiplier for development in non-Western and developing countries. This view held that the media would always be controlled by the state, and the state – in its profound sense of altruism – would assure that this control would be manifested in a way that was best for society” (Lardner, 1993, p. 91). Unfortunately, this optimism was not supported by the reality of state-media relations in Ghana, and indeed in Africa as a whole. the media were controlled by the state alright but that control did not spawn an altruistic pursuit of the national interest. What resulted was rather the stifling of free expression by the media and their use as instruments for the protection of the parochial interest of the state elite. Clapham's (1997, p. 546) “survey of opposition in tropical Africa prior to the 1990s serves to indicate how slight were the opportunities for legitimate political competition and at the same time how great were the sources of discontent which were denied any permissible outlet.” Reminiscent of media control by some earlier governments, the Rawlings regime in Ghana used mechanism such as the Newspaper Licensing Law (PNDCL 211) to curtail the free functioning of the private press as it maintained its stranglehold on the state-owned media. Furthermore, “summary executions and the rough tactics of the local militants who staffed the Committees for the Defence of the Revolution (CDRs) imposed acquienscence and a 'culture of silence'” (Lyons, 1997: 68; see also Oquaye, 1995).

Since the early 1990s, however, the Ghanaian media landscape has witnessed significant changes, just as is the case in much of the African continent (Lardner, 1993, pp. 92–93). These changes have seen an increase in the number of privately-owned print and electronic media outlets, a more vocal and courageous private press, and an increasingly less 'henpecked' state media. a corollary of these developments is the emergence of the media as veritable forums for . . .

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