The fourth edition of An Introduction to African Politics is an ideal textbook for those new to the study of this fascinating continent. It gets to the heart of the politics of this part of the world. How is modern Africa still influenced by its colonial past? How do strong ethnic and religious identities on the continent affect government? Why has the military been so influential? How does African democracy differ from democracy in the West? These are the sorts of question tackled by the book. The result is a textbook that identifies the essential features of African politics, allowing students to grasp the recurring political patterns that have dominated this continent since independence.
Key features include:
Thematically organised, with individual chapters exploring issues such as colonialism, ethnicity, nationalism, religion, social class, ideology, legitimacy, authority, sovereignty and democracy.
Identifies key recurrent themes such as the competitive relationships between the African state, its civil society and external interests.
Contains useful boxed case studies at the end of each chapter, including: Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, Botswana, Cote d'Ivoire, Uganda, Somalia, Ghana, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zimbabwe.
Each chapter concludes with key terms and definitions, as well as questions and advice on further reading.
This textbook is essential reading for students seeking an accessible introduction to the complex social relationships and events that characterise the politics of post-colonial Africa.
Alex Thomson is a Principal Lecturer of Politics at Coventry University in the United Kingdom. He has taught and published in the area of African Politics for over twenty years.
1. Introduction: state, civil society and external interests 2. History: Africa's pre-colonial and colonial inheritance 3. Ideology: nationalism, socialism, populism and state capitalism 4. Ethnicity and religion: `tribes', gods and political identity 5. Social class: the search for class politics in Africa 6. Legitimacy: neo-patrimonialism, personal rule and the centralisation of the African state 7. Coercion: military intervention in African politics 8. Sovereignty I: external influences on African politics 9. Sovereignty II: neo-colonialism, structural adjustment and Africa's political economy 10. Authority: the crises of accumulation, governance and state collapse 11. Democracy: re-legitimising the African state? 12. Conclusions: The changing relationship between state, civil society and external interests in the post colonial era