Peter M. Lewis
This article discusses Africa’s political economy in the contemporary era. It begins with an overview of various theories, models and debates that address African economic performance before turning to a discussion of the interrelationships between institutions, politics, and economic change. It then proceeds with an analysis of the politics of economic change in Africa following years of colonization; how the development strategies charted at independence came under stress from internal and global factors in the 1970s; the shifts in development strategy and policy orientation that African states went through in the 1980s; the influence of political reform and democratization on the trajectory of African economies during the 1990s; and the acceleration of economic growth in many African countries in the twenty-first century. Finally, the article assesses African economies under the contemporary period in which enhanced performance and a more propitious context create opportunities for a shift in developmental trajectories.
Jamila Celestine Michener, Andrew Dilts, and Cathy J. Cohen
Political participation has been a fundamental constant in the lives of African American people. Whether it is voting, membership in social/political community organizations, or participation in social movements for causes ranging from abolition to civil rights, black Americans have consistently leveraged politics and civic engagement as vehicles for freedom and justice. This article focuses on the history of political activism among African American women, reviewing the manifold ways they have participated while traversing the often perilous American political landscape. It highlights significant trends and provides a broader context for understanding those trends. To that end, the article begins with a broad discussion of the intersectional positioning of African American women. Subsequently, it discusses the patterns of black women's participation between Reconstruction and the 1965 Voting Rights Act. Finally, it rounds out the historical account by addressing black women's traditional forms of participation since the Voting Rights Act.
This chapter describes shifts in gender roles and agency during times of conflict, noting that the changes men and women experience are interdependent and arguing that a conflict period may offer a window of opportunity to speed up normative social change. The chapter describes how qualitative data from multiple conflict sites illustrate that while women may experience an increase in economic agency during a conflict period, many men feel emasculated or disempowered when their livelihoods are disrupted during conflict. Two case studies, from the Gaza Strip and Liberia, illustrate this dynamic of female empowerment and male emasculation. The Gaza example shows a community where these dynamics are present, but changes to the underlying gender norms are limited. Liberia offers an example of a post-conflict society where gender roles have not only been relaxed but have undergone a normative change, as women have begun participating in political, economic, and civic life.
Rebecca Nelson and Richard Coe
The smallholder farmers who cultivate many of the planet’s diverse production systems are faced with numerous challenges, including poverty, shrinking farm sizes, degrading natural resources, and climate variability and change. Efforts to improve the performance of smallholder farming systems focus on improving access to input and output markets, improving farm resource use efficiency, and improving resources invested in smallholder farming. In order to support market-oriented production and self-provisioning, there is a need for greater focus on agroecological intensification (AEI) of smallholder production systems. This chapter provides an overview of some of the research frontiers supporting AEI. Market-oriented and agroecological approaches may or may not conflict, and more effort should be made to ensure that they are mutually reinforcing. To be reliable, value chains must be founded on sound production ecology. Agroecological options may be limited if farmers cannot participate in markets that support investment in the intensification and diversification of these systems. Because options must be adapted to farmers’ heterogeneous and dynamic contexts, successful AEI will require that specifics be optimized locally. Researchers must therefore understand and communicate relevant agroecological principles, and farmers and intermediaries must develop their capacity to adapt the principles to local needs and realities.
Albert O. Hirschman, Exit, Voice and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States
This chapter discusses Albert Hirschman’s Exit, Voice and Loyalty, a classic known for its relatively simple argument that has found many applications in fields ranging from personal relationships and workplace relations to emigration, political parties, and more importantly, public policy. Published in 1970, the book argues how exit and voice can be used by consumers of a product or service to let producers know their satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) with that good. This chapter first examines the influence of Exit, Voice and Loyalty in various fields before turning to some criticisms and extensions of Hirschman’s framework. It then assesses how exit and voice relate to loyalty and social investment as well as the evidence for Hirschman’s claim of the exit–voice trade-off. Finally, it analyses evidence on the efficiency of different exit mechanisms.
This chapter examines an agroecological approach to agricultural development called the System of Rice Intensification (SRI). SRI can boost paddy yields by 50 to 100 percent using less inputs of seed, water, fertilizer, and labor. The article first considers the opportunities offered by SRI methods compared to current agricultural practices. It then looks at the effects of agroecological management with other crops and the dynamics of an agroecological innovation. The concluding section discusses broader implications for politics and society.
Ambiguous Transformations: The 2007/08 International Financial Crisis and Changing Economic Roles of the State
Over the past century, international financial crises have often helped transform the role of the state within domestic economies as well as the nature of economic relations between states. The international financial crisis of 2007–08 has so far left a very ambiguous legacy. The crisis initially seemed likely to challenge “neoliberal” economic regimes at the domestic level but that outcome has looked increasingly less convincing over time. At the international level, the crisis immediately triggered a strengthening of multilateral economic cooperation, but the significance of this cooperation and states’ enduring commitment to it are easily overstated. Given these ambiguities and the fact that current domestic and international trends are often working at cross-purposes, the world is left in a kind of interregnum in which the longer term significance of the 2007–08 crisis for the transformation of the economic role of the state is not yet clear.
Lewis A. Kornhauser
Many analyses of courts within the economic analysis of law are indistinguishable from those produced by positive political theorists; they consider how judges control, exploit, or resolve conflicts of interest among judges. This article considers three contributions by economic analysts of law outside this common, positive, political theoretic model but which still exploit the tools of rational-choice theory. These contributions either integrate appellate decisio -making within a more comprehensive model of litigant and trial behavior; assume that judges constitute a team with shared preferences; or assume that judges decide cases rather than announce or implement policies. These three elements yield a substantively different understanding of courts than the standard model of positive political theory (PPT). The assumption of shared preferences explicitly rejects the principal-agent model that is standard in PPT. The integration of appellate decision making with other aspects of the disputing process and the shift from policies to cases are consistent with, but potentially transformative of, the standard principal-agent models of adjudication.
This article discusses anarchy and also introduces recent research from economics that models anarchy. It shows that this research has clear implications for thinking about interstate relations. There are also indications that such relations are becoming greater as well as a fruitful concern.
This essay surveys the representation of animals in folklore from the fables of Aesop to the search for Bigfoot. Unlike most of modern culture, folklore attributes great power, understanding, autonomy, and significance to animals. While folklorists have often found this deeply poetic, they were also made uncomfortable by the suggestion of magic and, to protect their claim to superior rationality, tried to distance themselves from folktales. The English demonized animal helpers in fairy tales, while the French gave these figures human form. The Grimm brothers and other romantics removed fairy tales from the context of everyday life by placing them in a remote realm such as an ancient civilization, a marginal social order, or the enchanted world of childhood. As the naturalistic paradigm, with its implicit anthropocentrism, declines, folk literature provides models for more balanced relationships between animals and human beings.