The Future of Democracy in Africa

  • Sheldon Gellar


In studying the evolution of democracy in Senegal, we attempted to systematically apply the main components of Tocquevillian analytics. Having done so, we concluded that the foundations for democracy have been strengthened in Senegal and that the prospects for democracy there look reasonably good. Rather than presenting Senegalese democracy as an ideal model to be exported to other African countries, following Tocqueville, we shall emphasize some of the main principles contributing to Senegal’s success. Building on Tocquevillian analytics, what can one say about the state of democracy in Africa today and its prospects for the future?


Civil Society Colonial Rule Christian Church Free Election Associational Life 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Chapter Twelve The Future of Democracy in Africa

  1. 2.
    For a monumental study of the negative consequences of the colonial legacy, see Crawford Young, The African Colonial State in Comparative Perspective (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1994).Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    For examples, see James S. Coleman and Carl G. Rosberg, Jr. (eds.), Political Parties and National Integration in Tropical Africa (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1964) andGoogle Scholar
  3. Aristide R. Zolberg, “Patterns of National Integration,” Journal of Modern African Studies, Vol. 10, No. 4 (December 1967), pp. 449–467.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    For an excellent collection of essays on this theme, see Donald Rothchild and Naomi Chazan (eds.), The Precarious Balance: State and Society in Africa (Boulder: Westview Press, 1988).Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Michael Bratton, “Second Elections in Africa,” in Larry Diamond and Marc E Plattner (eds.), Democratization in Africa (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999), p. 22.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    For of the oppressiveness of the regime in Rwanda preceding the 1994 genocide and a call for an alternative to the central state, see Timothy Longman, “Rwanda: Chaos from Above,” in Leonardo A. Villalôn and Phillip A. Huxtable (eds.), The African State at a Critical Juncture: Between Disintegration and Reconfiguration (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1998), pp. 75–91.Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    The original concept of patrimonialism comes from Max Weber. For a detailed discussion of this concept see, Reinhard Bendix, Max Weber: An Intellectual Portrait (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1962), pp. 329–384.Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    For a broad survey of indigenous African political institutions in precolonial Africa, see George B.N. Ayittey, Indigenous African Institutions (New York: Transnational Publications, 1991), pp. 1–272.Google Scholar
  9. 14.
    Crawford Young, “Itineraries of Freedom in Africa: Precolonial to Postcolonial,” in Robert H. Taylor (ed.), The Idea of Freedom in Asia and Africa (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), pp. 12–15.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    On this point, see Chisanga N. Siame, “Two Concepts of Liberty through African Eyes,” The Journal of Political Philosophy, Vol. 8, No. 1 (2000), pp. 53–67.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 16.
    For analysis of the attributes of the inheritance elite, their inheritance that is, control over the institutions of the colonial state, and the inheritance situation, see J. P. Nettl and Roland Robertson, International Systems and the Modernization of Societies (London: Faber and Faber, 1968), pp. 63–127.Google Scholar
  12. 18.
    For examples of African success stories in building effective rural self-governing associations, see Pierre Pradervand, Listening to Africa: Developing Africa from the Grassroots (New York: Praeger, 1989).Google Scholar
  13. 19.
    Simon Fass and Gerrit M. Desloovere, “Chad: Governance by the Grassroots,” in Dole Olowu and James S. Wunsch (eds.), Local Governance in Africa: The Challenges of Democratic Decentralization (Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004).Google Scholar
  14. 21.
    For the stances of Christian and Animist religious institutions vis-à-vis the colonial and postcolonial state, see Achille Mbembe, Afriques indociles: Christianisme, pouvoir et Etat en société postcoloniale (Paris: Karthala, 1988).Google Scholar
  15. 23.
    For Muslim-Christian relations in Sierra Leone, see Lamin Sanneh, Piety and Power: Muslims and Christians in West Africa (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996).Google Scholar
  16. 27.
    On this point, see Michael Bratton and Robert Mattes, “How People View Democracy: Africans’ Surprising Universalism,” Journal of Democracy, Vol. 12, No. 1 (January 2001), pp. 108–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Sheldon Gellar 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sheldon Gellar

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations