Urban Poverty and Party Populism in African Democracies

Urban Poverty and Party Populism in African Democracies

By: Danielle Resnick (author)Hardback

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When and why do the urban poor vote for opposition parties in Africa's electoral democracies? The strategies used by political parties to incorporate the urban poor into the political arena provide a key answer to this question. This book explores and defines the role of populism in Africa's urban centers and its political outcomes. In particular, it examines how a populist strategy offers greater differentiation from the multitude of African parties that are defined solely by their leader's personality, and greater policy congruence with those issues most relevant to the lives of the urban poor. These arguments are elaborated through a comparative analysis of Senegal and Zambia based on surveys with informal sector workers and interviews with slum dwellers and politicians. The book contributes significantly to scholarship on opposition parties and elections in Africa, party linkages, populism, and democratic consolidation.

About Author

Danielle Resnick is a Research Fellow at the United Nations University-World Institute for Development Economics Research. Her work on voting behavior, political parties, and the political economy of development has appeared in Comparative Political Studies, Party Politics, World Development, the Journal of Modern African Studies, and Development Policy Review, as well as in chapters within edited volumes. She has received fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, and the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University, New York. She has lived in and conducted fieldwork in a number of African countries, including Botswana, Burkina Faso, Malawi, Senegal, and Zambia. She received her Ph.D. in Government from Cornell University.


1. Urbanization, voting behavior, and party politics in African democracies; 2. Drivers of voting behavior among Africa's urban poor: why populist strategies prevail; 3. The bite of 'King Cobra': populist strategies in the Zambian context; 4. Gorgui's gamble: the rise and fall of populist strategies in Senegal; 5. The view from below: how the urban poor react to political party strategies; 6. Beyond the city: building coalitions with rural voters; 7. Political parties and populist strategies in other African democracies; 8. Conclusions, contributions, and implications.

Product Details

  • ISBN13: 9781107036802
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 312
  • ID: 9781107036802
  • weight: 560
  • ISBN10: 1107036801

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