Political Legitimacy in Middle Africa: Father, Family, Food (Hardback)Michael G. Schatzberg (author)
Hardback Published: 13/11/2001
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A Choice Outstanding Academic Title 2003, Michael G. Schatzberg explores the cultural underpinnings of political legitimacy. He argues that all societies have a culturally-rooted template against which people come to understand the political legitimacy, or "thinkability," of institutions, ideas, policies, and procedures. In this innovative work, Michael G. Schatzberg reads metaphors found in the popular press as an indicator of how Africans come to understand political legitimacy, political culture, and political philosophy. Examining daily newspapers, popular literature, and political and church documents from across middle Africa-from Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria to Cameroon, Congo/Zaire, Kenya, and Tanzania-Schatzberg finds widespread and deeply ingrained views of government and its relationship to its citizenry as parts of an idealised and extended family.By exploring the role of the father-chief as head of the family, Schatzberg considers how political power is distributed in Africa, or who "eats" first.He addresses themes such as the role of the church, sorcery, soccer, and women within the paternalistic family-state; how punishments or rewards are meted out; and the limits of political corruption. Schatzberg's careful observations and sensitive interpretations uncover the moral and social factors that shape the African political universe. He shows how African understandings of politics and political power may have hampered the growth of Western-style democracy in Africa. "Political Legitimacy in Middle Africa" looks closely at elements of African moral and political thought that are compatible with democratic notions of government and assesses whether democracy might flourish if it were to be established on African terms.
Publisher: Indiana University Press
Weight: 567 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 22 mm
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