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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Uncivil States and Civil Societies: How Illusion Became Reality
Author:Lemarchand, RenéISNI
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:political systems
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/161188
Abstract:Through what specific historic structures and processes does the State manifest itself, and what are the consequences for an understanding of the dynamics of State-society interactions in contemporary Africa? How is the State perceived by members of the civil society? What are the constituent elements of the latter? And what does it all mean from the standpoint of 'governance'? In seeking tentative answers to these questions, the author first discusses the illusion of the State as a distinctive structure standing apart from society. Then he examines patterns of State formation and transformation, distinguishing the following types of polity: ethnic or ethno-regional hegemonies; 'totalizing' polities; neopatrimonial rulerships; factionalized State systems; and liberalized/transitional polities. Finally, he analyses A. Hirschman's classic options 'exit' and 'voice', which constitute the basic choices through which civil societies are trying to come to terms with the State. He argues that in the past the absence of 'voice' made 'exit' the only viable option; yet the first remains exceedingly problematic. What limits the prospects for 'voice' is that 'exit' has been consistently practised in the past as a means of evading State constraints. The escape routes may be material or spiritual, formal or informal, violent or peaceful, yet they all provide critically important avenues of survival. Notes, ref.