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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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3 Survey of Transformation in Africa with Focus on Socio-political Dimensions 103


103 3 Survey of Transformation in Africa with Focus on Socio-political Dimensions According to the approach suggested above, analysis of the current processes of transformation in Africa requires to review the main features of African history, to relate the transformations to the global context, and to examine particular changes of system components and the role of social actors during the 1990s’ movement for democracy. African peoples experienced political histories which differed widely. There were areas ruled by powerful empires such as Mali and Gao in the west, Nubia and Kanem-Bornu in the north, and Axum in the north-east. Smaller kingdoms were those of Joruba and Dahomey in West Africa, Darfur in Central Africa, and Monomotapa in the south. In the east, centre and south, acephalous societies without any state-like structure prevailed. The east coast was an area where close contact between Arab and African peoples moulded the culture between the 10th and 16th centuries (Ki-Zerbo 1981: 130-200). A traumatic history hit those societies which European traders used as sources for slaves to be shipped to the Americas. African and Arab middlemen were involved, and cruel military systems emerged along the west coast in order to organize large scale trafficking in human beings. Although Muslim movements were struggling against European slave traders as early as 1670 and establishing theocratic systems which protected Muslims, the leaders of such states soon participated in slave trade, selling ‘pagans’ for export (Ansprenger 2002: 44-48). The decimation of the population73 and the suffering from inhuman treatment...

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