Brokering Democracy in Africa: The Rise of Clientelist by Linda J. Beck (auth.)

By Linda J. Beck (auth.)

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David Collier and Steven Levitsky warned that the flourishing of “democracy with adjectives” could lead to “definitional gerrymandering” resulting from the introduction of a new definition every time a scholar encountered a somewhat anomalous case. Collier and Levitsky (1997: 435) were particularly concerned that the creation of these subtypes of democracy could lead to conceptual stretching to cases that are less than democratic in that the application of an adjective has not always been intended to distinguish between different types of democracy but rather different degrees of democracy, as was arguably the case with Fredric Schaffer’s (1998) conception of a Wolof form of demokrasi.

And that] judges are impartial and independent” (Carothers 1998: 96). Although rule of law is increasingly considered a necessary condition of democracy, it is important to note its absence from Dahl’s minimal requirements of polyarchy. Nor is it mentioned as a defining feature of a democratic transition in the more recent literature that followed the “Third Wave” of democratization. Arguably, this may have been an oversight by political analysts who assume constitutionalism and rule of law are the basis for political authority in a democracy.

The importance of this distinction is presented in chapter 1 and then illustrated by an overview of Senegal’s modern political history in chapter 2, which describes the transition from authoritarianism to semi-democracy, and finally clientelist democracy, contextualizing the discussion of local patron–client relations in the subsequent chapters. The subnational analyses begin in chapter 3 with Senegal’s most influential brokers, Wolof marabouts, who historically mobilized large voting blocs for the PS ruling party among the country’s largest ethnic group in central Senegal.

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