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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Political culture, State elites and regional security in West Africa
Authors:Taylor, IanISNI
Williams, Paul D.
Periodical:Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Geographic terms:West Africa
Subjects:political elite
regional security
Abstract:This article analyses the dominant patterns of political culture among West Africa's State elites in an attempt to understand what standards, beliefs and principles they cherish. The authors suggest that although there are significant differences across the region's States, the dominant political culture can be characterized as neopatrimonial, that is, systems based on personalized structures of authority where patron-client relationships operate behind a facade of ostensibly rational State bureaucracy. In order to explore these issues the article proceeds in four parts. After providing a definition of political culture and why it is an important topic of analysis, the authors examine the central characteristics of the political culture held by State elites in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) region. The next section briefly discusses some of the malign effects that this culture has had upon governance and political economy issues in the regional giant, Nigeria. The final section explores whether the region's elites are living up to their own claims that they are embarking upon a serious attempt to engage in State reconstruction or are instead simply searching for alternative ways to sell their more traditional concern with regime protection. The authors conclude that, without a fundamental recasting of the political culture guiding the region's elites, a security culture that prioritizes democracy and human security is unlikely to emerge within ECOWAS. Bibliogr., notes, sum. [Journal abstract]