Democratization in Africa: The Theory and Dynamics of Political Transitions

Democratization in Africa: The Theory and Dynamics of Political Transitions

Democratization in Africa: The Theory and Dynamics of Political Transitions

Democratization in Africa: The Theory and Dynamics of Political Transitions

Synopsis

In this stimulating and carefully researched study, Conteh-Morgan offers a multidimensional look at the political economy of African states. While many books focus on explanations of the processes and outcomes of political transitions, this work demonstrates a deeper understanding of democratization by combining macro and micro issues and actors, and historical and contemporary dynamics, into a theoretical framework that underscores anomalies, dilemmas, and paradoxes in the political transformation of Africa. Offering one of the first detailed and balanced evaluations of democratization, Conteh-Morgan breaks new ground by providing thought provoking insights into political transitions in developing countries. The work will be of interest to scholars in comparative politics, development studies, and African studies.

Excerpt

Analyses of democratization in developing countries are proliferating. Why, then, another one? My response to this question is based on a three-fold rationale. First of all, very few such studies have specifically combined macro- historical and contemporary issues and actors into a theoretical framework to explain the dynamics of ongoing democratization. By far the greatest number focus on explanations of the processes and outcomes of democratic reforms along with the effect of externally imposed economic conditionalities.

Second, nearly all the existing works on political liberalization in developing countries are limited to the isolated analysis of problems, or developments related to democratization as if these have no bearing on historic and contemporary national and global structural continuities and discontinuities of world politics. They are so politically detailed that the main lines of structural developments disappear, at least for many readers. This means that the issues, actors, dilemmas, anomalies, and paradoxes that are the focus of this book are analyzed in an integrated form within a theoretical framework consistent with a theory of democratization.

Third, analysis of democratization since the emergence of this post-Cold War phenomenon in 1991 will afford more basis for critical evaluation and detailed examination of outcomes, dilemmas, anomalies, and paradoxes. Earlier works on the subject may lack the factual and chronological information necessary for a deeper understanding and a more meaningful evaluation of successful, failed, and stalled cases.

For the completion of this book I had the good fortune to be a Senior Fellow at the Norwegian Nobel Institute. I was able to revise the final manuscript in the prestigious academic setting of their research department--an ideal milieu for individual scholarly reflection and collective input. The Institute, under the directorship of Geir Lundestad and Odd Arne Westad, also funded my research trip to Dakar, Senegal, where I was provided with invaluable research help from the staff at the Conseil pour le développement de la recherche en sciences sociales en Afrique (CODESRIA).

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