How do political systems in Africa work? Is the real business of politics taking place outside the scope of standard political analysis, in an informal, more-personalized setting? How are the prospect: for reform and renewal in African societies affected by the emerging elite? Is modernization in Africa different? Are there within African countries social, political, and cultural factors which abet the continuation of patrimony and conspire against economic development?Relations of power between rulers and the ruled continue to influence the role of the state and the expectations of the newly emphasized civil society. The question of identity, the resurgence of ethnicity and its attendant tribal politics, the growing importance of African religions, and the increasing tendency to resort to extreme and often ritualized violence in situations of civil disorder point to a process of re-traditionalizing in African societies.
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Patrick Chabal is Professor of Lusophone African Studies at King's College, London.
Jean-Pascal Daloz is a Senior CNRS Researcher at the Centre d'Etude d'Afrique Noire in Bordeaux.Review:
...for those interested in international affairs, but lacking detailed knowledge of Africa, if you read only one book about Africa this year it should be this one. Two distinguished scholars of Africa have written a short, lucid and astringent corrective to the lazy complacency of much conventional wisdom about the plight of the continent. Indeed, if all the litany of disaster is true, it is astonishing that anything works in Africa at all. And yet it does. - Gwyn Prins in INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS ...Despite its iconoclastic tenor, however, the book's value is paradoxically as a good summary of the present orthodoxy in the study of African politics - Jan Kees Van Donge in COMMONWEALTH & COMPARATIVE POLITICS
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