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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Mediating Ethnic Conflict at the Grassroots: The Role of Local Associational Life in Shaping Political Values in Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana
Author:Morris MacLean, Lauren
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies
Geographic terms:Ivory Coast - Côte d'Ivoire
Subjects:ethnic relations
population composition
ethnic groups
citizenship education
Ethnic and Race Relations
Politics and Government
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/3876140
Abstract:This article attempts to understand why ethnic-regional civil war has challenged the national unity of Côte d'Ivoire and not Ghana, two neighbouring countries with nearly identical ethnic, religious and regional divisions, by examining politics at the grassroots. Based on a comparison of two similar regions of Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana (the Abengourou region and the Brong-Ahafo region, respectively), the study, for which fieldwork was carried out in 1997, 1998 and 1999, investigates how participation in local voluntary associations reinforces the local experience of the State to shape the ongoing development of political values and affect the prospects for ethnic peace and democracy. The article finds that participation in ethnically heterogeneous voluntary associations does not necessarily promote democratic values and practice. In fact, in Côte d'Ivoire, participation in ethnically heterogeneous cocoa producer and mutual assistance organizations reinforces vertical patronage networks based on narrower ethnic identities. In contrast, in Ghana, participation in more ethnically homogeneous local church groups encourages the development of democratic values and practices at the local level that mediate the potential for ethnic conflict and support the consolidation of a democratic regime. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]