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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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2 Analyzing Processes of Political Transformation 35


35 2 Analyzing Processes of Political Transformation The comparative study of O'Donnell, Schmitter and Whitehead (1986) on ‘Transitions from Authoritarian Rule’ in Latin America was path-breaking for a series of researches on transitions towards democracy in developing countries. Throughout the 1990s a considerable amount of academic analyses in comparative political science focused on system change, the role of political actors in political transitions and on political culture in order to shed light on processes of democratization. These studies have extended the empirical knowledge on paths towards democracy. However, they generated analyses which, with hindsight, have only a limited value to explain regressions to authoritarian systems, the stabilization of formal democracies with persistent authoritarian qualities or the erosion of states (2.1). Researches on democratization by scholars of area and development studies have provided additional insights due to the inclusion of the economic dimension and international relations in analyses of democratization. Based on policy and programme-oriented approaches they have pointed out the dilemmas of simultaneous economic and political transformations and the challenges for institution building, in particular for decentralization. These studies clarify obstacles and chances with regard to democratization that stem from the respective national economies, the global economic context and the intervention of international agencies. However, they do not explain sufficiently on which social basis these dilemmas occur (2.2). Scholars of development studies have investigated the dynamics of the relationship between state and society and in particular, the special characteristics and roles of civil society. These studies contain significant sociological explanations...

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