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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Reflections on the Traditions of Authoritarianism and Democracy in African History
Author:Zeleza, Paul T.
Year:1994
Periodical:Afrika Zamani: revue annuelle d'histoire africaine = Annual Journal of African History (ISSN 0850-3079)
Issue:2
Period:July
Pages:223-240
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:political systems
democracy
historiography
Politics and Government
History and Exploration
History, Archaeology
history
democratization
authoritarianism
Abstract:This paper, which was specially written for the workshop on 'The historical legacies and democratisation processes in Africa: historians' commentaries', Bamako, Mali, April 26-29, 1994, primarily focuses on the political traditions and legacies of Africa's precolonial era. First, it outlines briefly the three paradigms - the autonomist, instrumental and process models - that have dominated analyses of politics and power in African historiography, followed by an examination of the meaning and content of democracy. Second, it looks at the polities and the structures of power in the State societies. Singled out for a specific critique is Basil Davidson's recent synthesis, 'The black man's burden: Africa and the curse of the nation-State' (1992). The third part focuses on the so-called stateless and acephalous societies. Then, the relationship between production and power in the nineteenth century is explored. Finally, the paper briefly looks at the construction of the colonial States and their complex articulations with the precolonial polities. Ref.
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