Coups, Rivals, and the Modern State: Why Rural Coalitions Matter in Sub-Saharan Africa

Coups, Rivals, and the Modern State: Why Rural Coalitions Matter in Sub-Saharan Africa

by Beth S. Rabinowitz


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State development in Africa is risky, even life-threatening. Heads of state must weigh the advantage of promoting political and economic development against the risk of fortifying dangerous political rivals. This book takes a novel approach to the study of neopatrimonial rule by placing security concerns at the center of state-building. Using quantitative evidence from 44 African countries and in-depth case studies of Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Rabinowitz demonstrates that the insecurities of the African state make strategically aligning with rural leaders critical to political success. Leaders who cultivate the goodwill of the countryside are better able to endure sporadic urban unrest, subdue political challengers, minimize ethnic and regional discord, and prevent a military uprising. Such regimes are more likely to build infrastructure needed for economic and political development. In so doing, Rabinowitz upends the long-held assumption that African leaders must cater to urban constituents to secure their rule.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781108411677
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 02/13/2020
Pages: 329
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 9.02(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

Beth S. Rabinowitz is Assistant Professor at Rutgers State University of New Jersey. Her research focuses on regime strategies and political stability in sub-Saharan Africa.

Table of Contents

Introduction; Part I. Setting the Stage: 1. A new theory of coalition politics; 2. Patterns of rule in Africa; 3. Rural alliances and coup risk: testing the theory; Part II. Forging Coalitions: 4. Alienating rural allies - Kwame Nkrumah 1947-1957; 5. Aligning with regional foes - Félix Houphouët-Boigny 1945-1960; Part III. Consolidating Power: 6. An urban strategy unravels - Kwame Nkrumah 1957-1966; 7. A rural strategy builds a nation - Félix Houphouët-Boigny 1960-1980; Part IV. Reversal of Fortune: 8. Reviving the state - J. J. Rawlings 1979-1999; 9. Losing the periphery - Henri Konan Bédié 1980-1999; 10. Structure not strategy? Examining alternative explanations; Conclusion.

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