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Book Book Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:From patronage to neopatrimonialism: postcolonial governance in Sub-Saharn Africa and beyond
Authors:Beekers, DaanISNI
Gool, Bas vanISNI
Year:2012
Issue:101
Pages:35
Language:English
Series:ASC working paper
City:Leiden
Publisher:African Studies Centre
Geographic term:Subsaharan Africa
Subjects:patronage
governance
State-society relationship
Link:http://hdl.handle.net/1887/19547
Abstract:Even if 'good governance' goals have dominated public policy in sub-Saharan Africa in the last decades, African politics and public administration often continue to be marked by authoritarianism, nepotism and corruption - the very practices good governance policy was to eradicate. In this paper, the authors aim to explain this apparent intractability of 'poor' and, occasionally, outright 'bad' governance. First, they argue that what appears as 'bad' governance to those embracing conventional, essentially Weberian, 'good governance' conceptions, may in fact be 'good' governance after all. Practices of political clientelism or patronage may reflect widely shared cultural beliefs about good and legitimate governance. Second, they show that the predominance of personalism and unofficial relationships that characterizes political clientelism may combine with modern bureaucracy in ways that drastically subvert the type of 'good governance' embodied by traditional moral economies of patronage. The authors dissect the logics of neopatrimonialism, a type of regime in which ruling elites use the State for personal enrichment and profit from a public administration that is patently unstable, inefficient, nontransparent and that fails to distribute public resources to large segments of the population. Third, the authors argue that the pragmatic survival strategies to which 'ordinary' citizens resort in response to such neopatrimonial neglect often, and ironically, entail the direct engagement with - rather than an outright distancing from - neopatrimonial politics. [Book abstract]
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