Fragments of democracy: nationalism, development and the state in Africa
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This paper argues that the concept of democracy is fragmentary in two respects: definitions of democracy are partial and incomplete, and their meanings depend on their historical contexts. The period since the Second World War in Africa has been dominated by three related themes: political nationalism, communal competition, and economic development. The state is central to all of them. Each draws on aspects of the democratic tradition and has significant, and often negative, implications for democratic practice. Hence our historical focus on the themes of nationalism, community, class, development, economic strategies, and multi-party elections. Democratic politics requires space for continuing dialogue, not least on the meaning of democracy itself.
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