Institutional Structures and Modern
I speak of societies emptied of themselves, of trampled cultures, undermined institutions, confiscated lands, of assassinated religions, annihilated artistic masterpieces, of extraordinary possibilities suppressed.
Aimé Césaire On the Nature of Colonialism
Even a casual reading of history confirms the Marxian conundrum that nations, ethnic groups, or tribes make their own history but not under conditions of their own choosing. The structures and institutions, created by the enduring effects of past systemic forces, values, and actions of other nations, constrain, stimulate, and make possible action that would not be possible in their absence. In other words, power relations do not stop at the borders of politically organized societies. Groups stand in close interaction even with power centers far beyond their borders. In fact, they often derive much of their power vis-à-vis their own societies from this external involvement and/or interference domestic affairs.
Among the competing approaches to explain the origins of authoritarian rule that swept many developing countries long after or shortly after their independence is the theory that modern authoritarianism and its recurrence is the inevitable product of the impact of colonial rule. In Latin America, in particular, the wave of renewed authoritarianism in the 1970s was viewed by some as the inevitable product of the region's Iberian heritage with its stress on corporate organizing principles. 1 In the case of Africa, as elsewhere, it is argued that Africa's record of coercive rule and its efforts at democratization are inseparable from the continent's historical inclusion into European colonial expansionism and contemporary position in the world system of sovereign national states. 2 In other words, a systemic and structural perspective, constitutes an appropriate approach