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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Powers in the Village: Rural Benin between Democratisation and Decentralisation
Authors:Olivier de Sardan, Jean-PierreISNI
Bierschenk, ThomasISNI
Year:2003
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Volume:73
Issue:2
Pages:145-173
Language:English
Geographic term:Benin
Subjects:democracy
decentralization
local government
Politics and Government
Development and Technology
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3556886
Abstract:The Republic of Benin has often been cited as a model democracy in the African context. After years of pressure from bilateral aid donors, particularly France and Germany, municipal elections were held in 2002. This article addresses three related questions. How have free presidential and parliamentary elections affected political dynamics at the local level, especially in the rural areas where most people live? What do rural people think about the change of national regime? How will decentralization affect local government? Based on empirical research in rural Benin, it shows that democratization means more of the same hybrid and composite form of local government. The boundaries between the State and private organizations (including Northern NGOs), and between the national and local levels, remain blurred. Local political arenas are more fragmented than ever, and informal politics flourish. This not only dilutes power at the local level, as different veto powers block one another, it entails constant negotiation between those involved, making political processes less predictable and local political institutions less accountable. Decentralization is only making matters worse. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]
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