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Departures from Post-Colonial Authoritarianism

Analysis of System Change with a Focus on Tanzania


Elke Grawert

This study sends the reader on an exciting journey into social and political life in Africa. It gives space to the voices of Tanzanian villagers, rural associations, branches of political parties and local government officers and their views of socio-economic and political change during the 1990s. This authentic picture is combined with a thorough sociological and political economy analysis showing the dynamics in the relations between state components and social forces in the context of neo-liberal globalization. The book is not only attractive as a country case study. It contains a deep analysis of the paradigmatic shift of African political systems from post-colonial rule to governance in response to neo-liberalism and provides new insights in processes of political transformation.


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1 Introduction 23


23 1 Introduction ‘For the choice is not between change and no change; the choice for Africa is between changing and being changed - changing our lives under our own direction, or being changed by the impact of forces beyond our control.’ (Nyerere in the brochure of the Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation, 1996). This book is about change. Amongst the dimensions of change that Nyerere implies - economic, social, cultural, political - the focus will be on political change. The political dimension of change is the one by which people try to keep change under control. Since the mid-1980s, academic interest has once more turned to processes of democratization. Whereas in comparative political science, institutional aspects of change have moved into the focus of attention, in sociology, the role and potential of civil society have been stressed. This book endeavours to develop an analytical approach which puts the mutual leverage of state and societal actors at the centre of processes of transformation. System change is regarded as a possible outcome of such interrelated action, but one which acquires a unique shape according to the particular path of transformation a given country is taking. This is assumed in turn to be influenced by the dynamics of state-society relations, historical experiences, and the larger context of economic and political international relations. Post-colonial authoritarian systems are hence prone to specific dynamics reflecting the particular historical power relations these countries have been part of. How these have affected and shaped recent processes of transformation will...

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