Radical changes have taken place in Africa since 1990. What are the realities of these changes? What significant differences have emerged between African countries? What is the future for democracy in the continent?
The editors have chosen eleven key countries to provide enlightening comparisons and contrasts to stimulate discussion among students. They have brought together a team of scholars who are actively working in the changing Africa of today. Each chapter is structured around a framing event which defines the experience of democratisation.
The editors have provided an overview of the turning points in African politics. They engage with debates on how to study and evaluate democracy in Africa, such as the limits of elections. They identify four major themes with which to examine similarities and divergences as well as to explain change and continuity in what happened in the past.
|Abdul Raufu Mustapha —|
Abdul Raufu Mustapha is University Lecturer in African Politics at Queen Elizabeth House and Kirk-Greene Fellow at St Antony's College, University of Oxford.
Lindsay Whitfield —
Lindsay Whitfield is a Research Fellow at the Danish Institute of International Studies, Copenhagen.
Turning points in African democracy, ed. by Abdul Raufu Mustapha and Lindsay Whitfield. James Currey, 2009. 235p bibl index; ISBN 9781847013170. Reviewed in 2010feb CHOICE.
Mustapha (Univ. of Oxford) and Whitfield (Danish Institute for International Studies) present a book of case studies written by a cadre of European Africanists. Their purpose is to synthesize work on the development of democratic institutions in the post-1990s African environment. They each provide the foundation for analysis of contemporary conditions within those African nations with what they characterize as a "democratic trajectory." Their assumption is that democratic progress comes through the processes of democracy--elected governments particularly. The ten case studies vary from more theoretic to more pragmatic, but all use process as a hinge upon which to hang a more sophisticated use of political economy, patronage, ethnicity, and personalization to explain developments since the institution of electoral governments. The concise case studies are from all geographic areas--Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Zambia, South Africa, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Rwanda and Burundi as a pair. An insightful introduction and conclusion help the reader compare national experiences and put the cases in the context of the varied trajectories of democracy on the African continent. The expensive hardback needs to be available in paper or e-book form.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels. -- R. M. Fulton, Northwest Missouri State University
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