Democratization in Africa: The Theory and Dynamics of Political Transitions

By Earl Conteh-Morgan | Go to book overview

imbalance of opposition pressures and competencies of the state (a manifestation of a "limited" or weak, dependent politico-economic system, or a disequilibrated political economy), and an intensification of the pressures on the state to maintain itself, or survive.

The intensification of group pressures creates the drive by the state to experiment with new strategies of survival. The state that is the most adaptive, ingenious, determined to survive searches the hardest for new ways to effectively contain pressures. That motivation to survive encourages the state to employ directly internal and external strategies--its own domestic coercive instruments and those obtained from outside (external allies). Survival requires astute and timely use of both covert and overt coercive action, co-optation of opponents, and other effective responses.

An important corollary is that states that are very good at implementing coercive strategies (getting things done) have an inherent coercive advantage. They are able to change and adapt faster, thereby forestalling escalation of political and economic discontent. Such cumulative state adaptive reflexes lead us back to our original premise that societal politico-economic pressures are ever changing and on the increase.

In sum, the post-independence African state is comprised of social institutions whose ideological basis is European, but juxtaposed against the pressures of African ideology. Such a curious melange of contrasting value systems is bound to produce power consolidation strategies that range from the use of persuasion to the perennial display of violence and terror by incumbent regimes. The next chapter delves into one of the ramifications of such a clash of political values. The consequence is a display of political anxiety (insecurity) on the part of the incumbent power elite.


NOTES
1.
See, for example, W. W. Rostow, Politics and the Stages of Growth ( London: Cambridge University Press, 1971); and C. E. Black, "Phases of Modernization," in J. L. Finkle and R. W. Gable (eds.), Political Development and Social Change ( New York: John Wiley, 1971), pp. 436-54; S. P. Huntington , Political Order in Changing Societies ( New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1968).
2.
See, for example, W. W. Rosfow, Politics and the Stages of Growth; C. E. Black "Phases of Modernization," and S. P. Huntington, Political Order in Changing Societies ( New Haven: Yale University Press, 1968).
3.
Warren Ilchmann and R. C. Bhagarva, "Balanced Thought and Economic Growth," in Riggs (ed.), Frontiers of Development Administration ( Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, 1970).

-70-

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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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