Chieftaincy, the State, and Democracy: Political Legitimacy in Post-Apartheid South Africa (Paperback)J. Michael Williams (author)
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As South Africa consolidates its democracy, chieftaincy has remained a controversial and influential institution that has adapted to recent changes. J. Michael Williams examines the chieftaincy and how it has sought to assert its power since the end of apartheid. By taking local-level politics seriously and looking closely at how chiefs negotiate the new political order, Williams takes a position between those who see the chieftaincy as an indigenous democratic form deserving recognition and protection, and those who view it as incompatible with democracy. Williams describes a network of formal and informal accommodations that have influenced the ways state and local authorities interact. By focusing on local perceptions of the chieftaincy and its interactions with the state, Williams reveals an ongoing struggle for democratization at the local and national levels in South Africa.
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Number of pages: 300
Weight: 22 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 20 mm
Williams (Univ. of San Diego) has added to a gradually growing collection of analyses focusing on the functions of chieftainship in South Africa and their role in the democratization process. His book is based primarily on dissertation research for three case studies from 1998 to 1999, completed in 2001, and taking into account changes and transitions in the decade following his initial research. His focus is on how the chieftaincy 'seeks to establish and maintain its legitimacy' and how it blends the 'principles of liberal democracy with principles of hereditary rule.' He updated his evidence during brief visits in 2003 and 2009, adding numerous surveys, journal articles, news accounts, and interviews to his bibliography. [H]is analysis . . . reflects chieftaincy interactions in the democratization process between the people, the state, and the chief's authority as it has evolved over many decades. An extensive bibliography, numerous informative footnotes, and a useful index add to the book's scholarship. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate and research collections. -- ChoiceAugust 2010 -- M. E. Doro * emerita, Connecticut College *
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