Centralization and Democratic Despotism

  • Sheldon Gellar


The evolution of the postcolonial African states had many parallels with what happened in France during and after the French Revolution. While old rulers were replaced, centralization was intensified. The opposition was squashed and often accused of collaborating with foreign powers. Liberties proclaimed in constitutions affirming the rights of man were snuffed out or shunted aside.


State Official Opposition Parti State Bureaucracy Local Government Unit Local Government Body 
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Chapter Four Centralization and Democratic Despotism

  1. 3.
    For one of the best studies of the emergence of one-party states during the early years of independence, see Aristide R. Zolberg, Creating Political Order: The Party-States of West Africa (Chicago: Rand McNally & Company,1966). For an analysis of African political parties during the last phases of decolonization and early days of independence, seeGoogle Scholar
  2. Thomas Hodgkin, African Political Parties (London: Penguin Books, 1961).Google Scholar
  3. 9.
    For a detailed portrait of Senghor’s technocratic approach to governance, see Irving L. Markowitz, Léopold Senghor and the Politics of Negritude (New York: Atheneum, 1969) andGoogle Scholar
  4. Mamadou Diouf, Le clientelisme, la “technocratie et après,” in Momar Coumba Diop (ed.) Sénégal: Trajectoires d’un Etat (Paris: Karthala, 1992), pp. 233–278.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
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  6. 15.
    For Dia’s rural development program in the early 1960s, see Sheldon Cellar, “Circulaire 32 Revisited: Prospects for Revitalizing the Senegalese Cooperative Movement in the 1980s,” Mark Gersowitz and John Waterbury (eds.), The Political Economy of Risk and Choice in Senegal (London: Frank Cass, 1987), pp. 123–130.Google Scholar
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    For the functioning of Senegal’s Rural Councils, see Richard Vengroff and Alan Johnston, Senegal’s Rural Councils: Decentralization and the Implementation of Rural Development (Dakar: CAIDS, 1985).Google Scholar
  8. 18.
    For analysis of the rural development institutions that emerged during the 1960s and early 1970s, see Edward J. Schumacher, Politics, Bureaucracy, and Rural Development in Senegal (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1975).Google Scholar
  9. 20.
    For the development of the concept of democratic administration as an alternative to bureaucratic administration, see Vincent Ostrom, The Intellectual Crisis in American Public Administration, Second Edition (Birmingham: University of Alabama Press, 1989), pp. 74–99.Google Scholar
  10. 22.
    For the principles underlying this innovative state agency and its evolution, see Sheldon Cellar, Robert A. Charlick and Yvonne Jones, Animation Rurale and Rural Development: The Experience of Senegal (Ithaca: Cornell University, 1980).Google Scholar
  11. 33.
    For a sample of a Marxist ideological analysis, see Majhemout Diop’s Histoire des classes sociales dans l’Afrique de l’Ouest: Le Sénégal (Paris: François Maspero, 1972). Diop was the founder and leader of the PAI.Google Scholar

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© Sheldon Gellar 2005

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  • Sheldon Gellar

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