Chieftaincy and Political Culture: The Case of Ghana - Petr Skalník
Chieftaincy and Political Culture: The Case of Ghana Petr Skalník Introduction This chapter aims to present political culture as a key to a better understanding of politics in Africa. Political culture is a product of history and as such tends to be conservative (Skalník, 2000). History is to a great extent linked to the devel- opment of religious beliefs. Religion is at the root of politics because through belief people are motivated to act. Religion empowers Africans. Ellis and ter Haar (2004: 2-3) expressed it in their inspiring study very clearly: “We contend that it is largely through religious ideas that Africans think about the world today, and that religious ideas provide them with a means of becoming social and political actors. … Precisely because Africa is so tightly bound into global reli- gious networks, study of the relationship between religious thought and political practice in Africa provides a window on an aspect of world affairs that is so much in need of new understanding today. ... Rather than struggling to catch up with other continents, as it is so often said to be, Africa may be in the vanguard when it comes to understanding the close inter-relationship between religion and politics.” The question raised in this essay is whether or to what extent the inherent specificity of Africa, namely the political culture which prevails on the conti- nent, can explain the rather unfortunate if not pathetic position which Africa occupies in the world. Is the legacy of the pre-colonial...
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