STREAM: The Politics of Development in Africa

STREAM: The Politics of Development in Africa

This stream invites papers and panels which explore the impact of politics – broadly defined – on, and in, African states and societies. Panels may include examination of:

– Democracy, participation and elections

– Authoritarian rule and the ‘developmental state’

– Leadership and political settlements

– The politics of the ‘everyday’

– Donors, aid and the international politics of development

 

Confirmed Panels

Patronage, Politics, and the Moral Economy of Electoral Politics 

Chair: Rebecca Tapscott (The Graduate Institute) 

Discussant: Jonathan Fisher (University of Birmingham) 

The form of democratic practices and processes have proliferated across African countries since the end of the Cold War. However, many scholars have noted a democratic deficit, fueled by governing logics of patrimonialism, clientelism, nepotism and corruption—some even argue that this deficit has grown in recent years. Nonetheless, citizens of African countries continue to enact democratic participation, going to the polls and casting votes in higher rates than their western counter-parts. This panel takes this paradox as its starting point, asking contributors to reflect on the moral economy of democracy in the African context. How are neopatrimonial relationships translated into the language and images of morality? More specifically, how do political figures enact or lay claim to moral action? How do such actions and claims translate into the relationship between constituents and their elected representatives? Can any lessons be drawn from the African experience for the wider world? This panel particularly solicits papers that survey the literature, that employ novel methods, or that attempt to test popular theories. 

Institutions, Power, and the Moral Economy of Electoral Politics 

Chair: Rebecca Tapscott (The Graduate Institute) 

Discussant: Lise Rakner (University of Bergen) 

The form of democratic practices and processes have proliferated across African countries since the end of the Cold War. However, many scholars have noted a democratic deficit, fueled by governing logics of patrimonialism, clientelism, nepotism and corruption—some even argue that this deficit has grown in recent years. Nonetheless, citizens of African countries continue to enact democratic participation, going to the polls and casting votes in higher rates than their western counter-parts. This panel takes this paradox as its starting point, asking contributors to reflect on the moral economy of democracy in the African context. How are neopatrimonial relationships translated into the language and images of morality? More specifically, how do political figures enact or lay claim to moral action? How do such actions and claims translate into the relationship between constituents and their elected representatives? Can any lessons be drawn from the African experience for the wider world? This panel particularly solicits papers that survey the literature, that employ novel methods, or that attempt to test popular theories. 

The Return of Authoritarian Developmentalists? Emerging Strategies and Ideologies

Organiser: Barnaby J. Dye (University of Oxford)

This panel will investigate the apparent rise of authoritarian states in Africa with strident state-led development visions. Over the last two-decades countries like Rwanda, Ethiopia and Angola have emerged from periods of conflict with illiberal governments bent on grand visions for economic growth. Similarly, countries like Uganda and Tanzania have experienced longer-lasting regimes consolidating political power in multi-party systems with visions of interventionist development. Interestingly, many of these countries draw their domestic and international legitimacy from such promises of development. The commodity price boom even saw the fulfilment of elements of these development visions for some countries, underpinning GDP growth and a new wave of infrastructure in energy and transport that suggests success. A crucial part of the phenomenon of recent “Authoritarian Developmentalists” have been their international enablers. Most notable are the so-called new donors from rising power countries like China and India, but private sector investment and ‘traditional’ donors reengaging to some extent with state-led development, are also important.

The model, and arguably the ideology, behind these states appears to invoke an early phase of post-independence/late colonial development involving similar, high modernist flagship infrastructure projects and a state-led development model. This panel will try to dissect the apparent rise of “Authoritarian Developmentalists”, mainly through specific case study countries, but also including some broader analyses. It will ask to what extent the phenomenon can be considered returned, persistent or changed from practices of the past. It will delve into the ideology shaping national visions, specifically considering the potential presence of high modernism among other influences. This set of thinking and entailed practise is commonly associated with post-WWII development era, whose high modernist ideology prescribed expert-led, top-down and teleological ideas of technology-induced change. This even appears to influence policy and rhetorics in notable Authoritarian Developmentalists, from Rwanda to Angola. The panel will examine the drivers for authoritarian developmentalist strategies. This will also analyse the global picture of international actors that have enabled the implementation of such development paths. These not only include ‘rising power’ institutions and companies, but also ‘traditional’ donors and multilateral banks who have re-engaged in infrastructure finance. Moreover, the private sector has become increasingly important in stimulating investment and thereby enabling the implementation of state-directed development.

However, its main focus will be to analyse the models pursued by these developmentally focused states, the ideologies that have influenced them and translation of these ideology(ies) into policy practises.

 

 

If you have any queries or suggestions please contact Jonathan Fisher (j.fisher@bham.ac.uk). For panel and paper submissions please follow the instructions on the website  http://www.asauk.net/call-for-papers-and-panels-asauk-2018-now-open/ 

 

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