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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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11 Theoretical Outcomes and Conclusion 575


575 11 Theoretical Outcomes and Conclusions Throughout this book, the making of political change was at the centre of attention. The analysis showed how under the conditions of economic crisis, structural adjustment and concomitant social differentiation, power struggles between distinct elites have shaped processes of political system transformation in Africa. These elites comprise state components, government factions as well as societal groups. The ways by which social forces pushed for political change took up various forms, ranging from violent clashes with post-colonial state forces to peaceful negotiations, institutional reforms and emerging civil society organizations influencing governance. The study has confirmed once more that the political institutions in Africa have gained their own historicity (see Bayart 1993: 260). What is more, this research has documented the conclusion of the post-colonial period and the rise of a new era that has been labelled the era of the neo-liberal regime. A fundamental move was identified from the post- colonial vision of self-reliance to embracing a pattern of institution-building which is informed by a neo-liberal concept of the interrelations of state, market and civil society. The incorporation of neo-liberalism into African policies took place in a highly ambiguous way. The new regime alleviated the access of foreign investors, reduced trade barriers and removed state-led companies in favour of private enterprise. ‘Good governance’ became the catchword for these reforms, which strengthened the influence of private sector interests on policy-making. At the same time, economic policies were alienated even more from the citizens' needs, and their...

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