African Democracies and African Politics (Human Security in the Global Economy)

Overview

Challenging orthodox views on contemporary African politics and democracy, M.A. Mohamed Salih offers a fresh approach to the topic, emphasising the role of ethnicity and religion, in particular that of minorities. His central theme is that government donors from Western nations have imposed Western style democracy in Africa, ignoring the indigenous politics of the region, often resulting in chaos. As a consequence many African societies are divided by ethnicity. Revealing how minorities are inevitably ...

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Overview

Challenging orthodox views on contemporary African politics and democracy, M.A. Mohamed Salih offers a fresh approach to the topic, emphasising the role of ethnicity and religion, in particular that of minorities. His central theme is that government donors from Western nations have imposed Western style democracy in Africa, ignoring the indigenous politics of the region, often resulting in chaos. As a consequence many African societies are divided by ethnicity. Revealing how minorities are inevitably marginalised in all aspects of development and education, Salih shows how, in many instances, they are treated as enemies of the state, as are the opposition parties. He examines democracy and authoritarian development in a pan-African context and the democratic potential of political education, and provides a range of country-specific case-studies, including multi-party democracy in Sudan; democratising anarchy in Sierra Leone; religious violence in Obasanjo's Nigeria and ethnic federalism in Ethiopia.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'This well-informed study starts from the premise that Western-style democracy has never been appropriate in Africa and is unlikely to catch on anytime soon'. —Foreign Affairs
CHOICE
This series of essays on democracy and politics in Africa focuses on factors that affect the feasibility of the democratization process in African states in general, but with specific reference to Ethiopia, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Nigeria, and several states in southern Africa. While (there is an excellent resume of theories and factors affecting the process, Salih's main emphasis is in the role and deprivations of ethnic or religious minorities that not only serve to weaken governments but also lead to anarchy and civil strife .Although these factors vary from one state to the next, they create all-too-familiar patterns of political responses that hinder democracy and are often so irreconcilable that they tend to minimize development of the nation-state. Recommended for lower- and upper-division undergraduates.
Foreign Affairs
This well-informed study starts from the premise that Western-style democracy has never been appropriate in Africa and is unlikely to catch on any time soon, despite concerted efforts by international donors and lenders to force it on reluctant African leaders through strings attached to aid. The author, an African scholar teaching in the Netherlands, makes a case instead for positively reconsidering ethnicity as a political organizing principle, pointing to the current Ethiopian experiment with ethnic federation as a promising model. It is a notable attempt to bring a fresh African perspective to the continent's politics.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745317243
  • Publisher: Pluto Press
  • Publication date: 8/20/2001
  • Series: Ossrea Series
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 5.32 (w) x 8.47 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

M. A. Mohamed Salih is Professor of Politics of Development at both the Institute of Social Studies, The Hague and the Department of Political Science, University of Leiden, The Netherlands His most recent books include African Pastoralism: Conflict, Institutions and Government (Pluto Press, 2001), Environmental Planning, Policies and Politics in Eastern and Southern Africa (1999), Environmental Politics and Liberation in Contemporary Africa (1999) and Local Environmental Change and Society in Africa (2000).

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Table of Contents

Preface

Maps

1 Introduction

2 Ethnicity in Quasi-Polyarchies

3 Harnessing Authoritarian Development

4 The Democratic Potential of Democratic Education

5 An Authoritarian Circus: Sudan from NIF to

6 Multi-Party Democracy

7 Sierra Leone: Democratising Anarchy

8 Nigeria: Democracy, Ethnicity and Faith

9 Southern African Democracies and

10 South Africa's Resilience

11 Minorities in First-Past-the Post

Bibliography

Index

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