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Public Opinion, Democracy, and Market Reform in Africa


Part of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

  • Date Published: December 2004
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521841917

£ 63.00

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About the Authors
  • This book is a fascinating exploration of public opinion in sub-Saharan Africa. Based on the Afrobarometer, a comprehensive cross-national survey research project, it reveals what ordinary Africans think about democracy and market reform, subjects on which almost nothing is otherwise known. The authors find that support for democracy in Africa is wide but shallow and that Africans feel trapped between state and market. Beyond multiparty elections, people want clean and accountable government. They will accept economic structural adjustment only if it is accompanied by an effective state, the availability of jobs, and an equitable society. What are the origins of these attitudes? Far from being constrained by social structure and cultural values, Africans learn about reform on the basis of knowledge, reasoning, and experience. Weighing supply and demand for reform, the authors reach cautious conclusions about the varying prospects of African countries for attaining fully-fledged democracy and markets.0

    • Only survey of public opinion about democracy and market reform in more than a dozen countries in sub-Saharan Africa
    • Shows that African societies and cultures do not pose insuperable obstacles to political and economic reform
    • This public opinion research helps people to judge the prospects for the consolidation of new political regimes
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'As the first comprehensive review of public opinion in sub-Saharan Africa, this book is essential reading for those interested in democracy and development - and will have a dramatic impact on the political economy of reform in Africa and elsewhere.' Foreign Affairs

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    Product details

    • Date Published: December 2004
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521841917
    • length: 488 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 32 mm
    • weight: 0.88kg
    • contains: 46 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. A tale of two presidents
    2. Taking account of adjustments
    3. Setting an agenda
    4. Overview of contents
    Part I. Framework: Africa's Hybrid Regimes:
    5. A decade of political reforms, 1990–2001
    6. Two decades of economic reforms, 1982–2001
    7. Dual transitions: compartibilities and contradictions
    8. Demand, supply, and regime consolidation
    9. Deriving public opinion: studying public opinion in Africa
    10. Competing theories, rival hypotheses
    11. Towards a learning approach
    12. Survey research in Africa
    13. The afrobarometer: an appropriate method?
    14. A quest for comparison
    Part II. Popular Attitudes to Reform: Attitudes to Democracy:
    15. Understanding of democracy
    16. Support for democracy
    17. Rejection of alternative regimes
    18. Satisfaction with democracy
    19. Wide but shallow
    20. The extent of democracy: attitudes to a market economy:
    21. The popular development agenda
    22. Between state and market
    23. Awareness of economic reforms
    24. Support for economic reforms
    25. Satisfaction with economic reforms
    26. Economic patience?: economic and political behavior
    27. Living standards
    28. Securing economic livelihoods
    29. Compliance and the law
    30. Varieties of political participation
    31. Defending democracy?
    32. From attitudes to behavior
    Part III. Competing Explanations: The Structure of Society:
    33. Demographic determinants
    34. Varieties of sub-nationalism
    35. The burden of poverty
    36. Structural models: cultural values
    37. Self-identities
    38. Interpersonal trust
    39. An emergent individualism
    40. Cultural models
    awareness of public affairs
    41. The spark of education
    42. Exposure to mass media
    43. Cognitive engagement
    44. Political and economic knowledge
    45. The eye of the beholder
    46. Cognitive models: performance evaluations
    47. Evaluating the economy
    48. The corruption of the state?
    49. Assessing regime performance
    50. Grading the government
    51. A representation gap?
    52. Performance models: institutional influences
    53. Associational life
    54. Party identification: political participation
    55. Economic participation
    56. Institutional models
    Part IV. Explaining Reform Constituencies: Modeling Attitudes to Reform:
    57. Modeling demand for democracy
    58. Modeling the supply of democracy
    59. Modeling demand for a market economy
    60. Modeling the supply of economic reform
    61. Paths to reform: a learning process: predicting political participation
    62. Voting
    63. Protesting
    64. Communing and contacting
    64. Vote choice
    65. Defending democracy
    66. Political participation: cause or effect?: deciphering regime consolidation
    67. The effects of 'country'
    68. Demand, supply, and regime consolidation (revisited)
    69. The consolidation of African political regimes
    70. The correlates of consolidation
    71. Economic versus political legacies
    72. The study of Africa
    73. Theories of social change
    74. Strategies of development.

  • Authors

    Michael Bratton, Michigan State University
    Professor Michael Bratton is Professor of Political Science and at the African Studies Center at Michigan State University. He is the co-founder and co-director of the Afrobarometer, a comparative series of national political attitude surveys covering more than a dozen African countries. He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards for his work on Africa and his ongoing research there. He is also a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Modern African Studies and the co-author (with Nicolas van de Walle of Democratic Experiments in Africa: Regime Transitions in Comparative Perspective.

    Robert Mattes, University of Cape Town
    Professor Robert Britt Mattes is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Cape Town. He is the co-founder and co-director of the Afrobarometer along with Professors Bratton and Gyimah-Boadi. He is the author of numerous articles on African politics and has received many awards for his work on the subject. He is also currently the director of the Centre for the Study of Democratic Politics in Africa at the University of Cape Town.

    E. Gyimah-Boadi, University of Ghana
    Professor E. Gyimah-Boadi is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Ghana in Legon. He is co-founder and co-director of the Afrobarometer along with Professors Bratton and Mattes. He is also the Executive Director of the Ghana Center for Democratic Development (CDD-Ghana) in Accra. He frequently contributes to scholarly journals and books on Africa.

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