Africa
in Democratization through the looking-glass

This chapter discusses the different waves of democratic transition in Africa. Early approaches to democratization in Africa were largely subsumed under the closely interrelated perspectives of modernization and nationalism. The study of democratization arrived in the 1950s and 1960s as an accompaniment of decolonization and in its most systematic and coherent form that drew heavily on American political science. The fairly rapid political atrophy of the first wave of nationalist democracy in Africa was greeted in a few ways. The atrophy was greeted first as one-party regimes and then as a military rule which took hold in an increasing number of states. The early 1990s witnessed a dramatic return of multi-party democracy to Africa. Africa's second wave of democracy re-ignited enthusiasm for the study of individual elections. The concern to render constitutionalism viable had been closely linked to the debates around the complex interrelationships between democratization and development.

Editor: Peter Burnell

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