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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Precarious Democratization and Local Dynamics in Niger: Micro-Politics in Zinder
Author:Lund, Christian
Periodical:Development and Change
Geographic term:Niger
local politics
Politics and Government
Abstract:Literature on the African State often finds it hard to specify what is State and what is not. The closer one gets to a particular political landscape, the more apparent it becomes that many institutions have something of a twilight character. This article argues that studies of local politics in Africa should focus on how public authority of institutions waxes and wanes and how political competition among individuals and organizations expresses the notion of State and public authority. This is explored in the context of contemporary political struggles in Niger, played out in three different arenas in the region of Zinder around 1999. The first was a struggle between home-region associations over their regions' respective status in the advent of a decentralization reform. The second was a competition over succession of a canton chief, in which the government was involved but failed to impose its will. The third was the creation of a vigilante force and new institutions of public authority in the context of the 'lawless' situation after the National Conference in 1991. The political struggles in each of these arenas were different and the objectives varied in scope and character. Nonetheless, all three demonstrate the porosity of the State and the exercise of forms of public authority laden with ambiguity. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum.