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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The erosion of civil society and the corporatisation of democracy in Africa
Author:Breytenbach, WillieISNI
Year:1998
Periodical:Quest: An International African Journal of Philosophy
Volume:12
Issue:1
Period:June
Pages:39-46
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:political systems
democracy
resistance
politics
democratization
civil society
authoritarianism
rule of law
Abstract:There are two distinct historical epochs in dealing with the role of civil society in Africa: that of African protest against colonial policies, before the advent of political parties, culminating in African nationalist struggles for independence since 1945, and that of anti-authoritarian resistance against undemocratic regimes in independent Africa, from the mid-1980s onwards, and the uncertain role of civil society in shaping the transition and consolidation of democracy. The present paper deals with the role of civil society (invariably class-based) in postindependent Africa, without discounting its historical antecedents. The liberalization phase, from the late 1980s to the early 1990s, when domestic social forces, together with external forces, combined to launch Africa's transitions away from authoritarian rule, offered quite an optimistic picture of Africa's prospects for democracy. In the new context of market-driven policies, foreign aid, and NGOs, and now that some of the euphoria is gone, the question arises as to whether democracy can be consolidated. Socioeconomic conditions are hardly favourable. Moreover, external agencies, whether superpowers or financial institutions, are still shaping the political direction of Africa. And these agencies are now more concerned about order and peacekeeping than continued democratization. Notes, ref.
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