This chapter shows that deliberative democracy is an important consideration for African nations, especially with an eye on the divisive effects of aggregative politics on democracies involving multi-ethnic groupings. The chapter explores Wiredu’s plea for democracy by consensus as an alternative model better suited than multi-party politics for an African context, and concludes that we need further research to determine where we could institute consensual mechanisms in African countries. Furthermore, it proposes that research on deliberation in Africa needs to go beyond philosophical discussions, and that empirical scholars need to begin testing various arguments in the philosophical and theoretical debates about deliberation.
This chapter examines the nationalist struggle in Nigeria. It takes a historical look at the movement and the various factors that facilitated its spread. It argues that while nationalism is often seen as agitation against the colonial order, in precolonial Nigeria the various reactions of its peoples and societies against the incursion of the British into their territories laid the foundation for the latter anticolonial struggle. This chapter further highlights the role of some key actors in the nationalist movement and how their ideological dispositions and personal preferences helped to define the nature of the struggle. It concludes with an assessment of the impact of the nationalist struggle on the post-independence Nigerian society, especially the unending attempts at building and sustaining a true nation out of the Nigerian state.
This chapter describes aspects of the transatlantic slave trade specific to regions that now comprise Nigeria and provides a review of academic research since the Second World War on the causes, effects, and character of the trade. Because of its volume, duration, and destabilizing effects, the trade had a profound impact on Nigeria’s political and economic evolution. Modern scholarship has centered around five recurring questions: How large was the trade? How efficient and productive was slave labor relative to free labor? Did the trade catalyze the Industrial Revolution in England? Did the trade retard the long-term economic development of Africa? Why did Africa, as opposed to many other potential source regions, become the New World’s primary provider of slave labor? Despite decades of research and scholarly debate, questions about the economic motives for the transatlantic trade and its long-term effects on Africa’s development remain unsettled.
Austria is a democratic republic wherein constitutionally, state power is federalized into nine provinces and 357 municipalities which are organized as self-governing bodies. However, in reality, major political parties and their predecessors have dominated Austrian politics. As a result, neither federalism nor local government have been fully developed. This article discusses the political structure of Austria. It focuses on the democracy of the nation which is marked by highly congruent structures and processes at all territorial levels. All the territorial levels are marked by parliamentary system dominated by the national state; consensus policy-making within the elite; elite-centred politics; and underdeveloped participatory democracy. All of this holds true despite changes in globalization and in national state requirements for a new differentiation. At the turn of the century, a new differentiation emerged wherein an agreement-based model of administration shifted towards a conflict- and competition-oriented based model. This shift caused municipalities to move away from the inherited and inflexible corporatism and towards a more open and flexible network structure. Although these new instruments have opened avenues for citizens, the Austrian people have used such instruments only reluctantly. At the same time political elites have also strived to maintain their grip on their dominating role in politics. Despite criticisms on the undemocratic nature and liability of internal blocking, the Proporz governments are still institutionalized in five provinces and the new regional development organizations which have been created to catalyze economic impulses have only coordinating and consultative functions. This suggests time will have to pass before changes will penetrate the deeply imbedded state traditions of Austria.
Krishnan Srinivasan and Sreeradha Datta
Bangladesh is the ultimate prize in the subcontinent for Indian foreign policy. To enjoy good relations with the world’s third largest Muslim population would immeasurably strengthen India’s hands in transactions with Pakistan and the Islamic world, undermine the Muslim League’s theory that Hindus and Muslims could never coexist, and stabilize India’s vulnerable north-east with the promise of transit facilities through Bangladesh raising expectations of a boost to the economy. Being embedded in the most sensitive area of India, Bangladesh’s cooperation will also boost India in regard to China and Myanmar. Achieving a state of consistently friendly relations with Bangladesh will, however, take time, given the prevailing vertical division in Bangladesh’s polity and society about the fundamentals of its nationhood.
Ellen Wayenberg, Filip De Rynck, Kristof Steyvers, and Jean‐Benoît Pilet
Under the surface of great unity, Belgium suffered from three cleavages that have divided the small nation. This article discusses the three cleavages that have influenced and affected the political make-up of Belgian. The first two have an indirect effect on subnational democracy as they are an expression of the structural relationship between the state, civil society, and the market. The third cleavage has a more direct bearing on democracy beyond the nation-state. The first cleavage is the rise of liberals opposing rural Catholic domination of society. A logic of subsidiarity was formed which developed a system of pillarization (verzuiling) which segmented society. The second cleavage is economic, as the mass labour force stood against a capitalist regime. With the development of the labour movement and the spread of voting rights, capitalism became more state-regulated. This led to corporatism where private organizations were given privileged status and often monopolized substantial aspects of public goods and service delivery. The last cleavage is the conflicts between two linguistic communities. This conflict affected the nature of the subnational democracy of Belgium. The combined effects of the three cleavages: pillarization, corporatism, and regionalization, made Belgium local governments and local leaders amongst the weakest in Europe. While tendencies of divergence are prevalent in the Belgian context, convergence is still a possibility: the regions integrated Belgian heritage into their political systems. The most crucial is the strong political localism which led to a complex intergovernmental and party-political lobbying and to blurred responsibilities which hollow out local democracy. In general, local democracy has been the victim of such systematic features.
Strom C. Thacker
This article addresses several questions on business-state relations in democratic Mexico. It addresses the contemporary nature of business-state relations in Mexico and appraises the participation of the private sector in democratic policies. It then studies the evolution of the structure and internal makeup of Mexico's business sector and the degree of competitive dynamism of the Mexican private sector and economy as a whole. Finally, the article takes a look at some of the implications of these dynamics for Mexico's democratic consolidation.
The chapter explores Boko Haram’s regional expansion and links to international jihadi movements such as al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). The chapter highlights how the move beyond Nigeria’s borders is unlikely to have been driven by genuine international or pan-Islamic ambitions but, instead opportunism and the pursuit of its domestic agenda had been at the core of Boko Haram’s interaction with AQIM first and the pledge of allegiance to ISIS later. The chapter also reflects on the repercussions of the insurgency campaign beyond Nigerian borders and the regional dimension of the resulting humanitarian crisis. Responses to such challenges have translated into international efforts to what, however, remains a localized phenomenon.
Meredith A. Katz
This chapter presents a historical overview of political consumerism in the United States and Canada, highlighting how societal and cultural shifts have influenced participation over time. The chapter begins by discussing the debatable origins of political consumerism in the Boston Tea Party to present-day examples, including fair trade and ecoconsumption. Throughout the chapter, there is an emphasis on the heterogeneity of political consumers, with particular attention to how marginalized groups, particularly women and African Americans, have used political consumerism to bring about social change. The chapter also argues that producer-consumer solidarity campaigns, including the antisweatshop movement and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers’ Campaign for Fair Food, are preferable to consumer-led campaigns. Finally, this chapter concludes with methodological considerations for studying political consumerism in North America and suggestions for future research.
This article focuses on the state of Bulgaria. In a geographical area where continents, religions, and influences of power meet, Bulgaria has relied on the traditions of centralism and uniformity to reserve itself as a state. These traditions were first carved by the governing elite of the early Bulgarian state, and later reaffirmed by the nation when under territorial repartitions and foreign invasion. As a result, strong regional identities hardly ever existed in Bulgaria. Communism furthered centralized power and insisted that no minorities could be recognized. Even after communism was abolished, the traditions of constitutionalism and centralization continued. In 1991, a new constitution which conforms to the European standards was adopted. It borrowed democratic experiments elsewhere establishing Bulgaria as a parliamentary republic but with a directly elected president and vice-president. The new constitution was controversial because it was passed by a Great National Assembly dominated by former communists. In conformity to the requirements of EU accession, Bulgaria amended the constitution. This 2007 constitutional amendment led to some decentralization of Bulgaria. It allowed subnational governance, subnational finance, and fiscal decentralization.
Sharon Gilad and Nissim Cohen
Studies of the Israeli public sector point to the vast influence of the Ministry of Finance (MOF) across multiple policy domains. This chapter combines bureaucratic politics research and the notion of veto players to theorize a two-tiered power game between bureaucratic and political players. It argues that the policy influence of bureaucracies is shaped by stable institutional factors and by the extent to which powerful politicians are inclined to intervene. In Israel, legal provisions vest the MOF with an institutional advantage over other bureaus and their ministers. Yet the MOF’s ability to exploit its advantaged position is contingent upon the joint propensity of the prime minister (PM) and the finance minister (FM) to forgo intervention. The chapter associates the PM’s and FM’s inclination to support the MOF with their political motivation to maintain their grip on the agenda of an increasingly fragmented coalition government. Thus, the MOF’s supremacy is reliant upon, and underpins, political power.
David E. Smith
Canada is one of the earliest modern federations in the world. Created in 1867 by an Act of Parliament in Westminster, it was the first parliamentary federation in the world. This article focuses on Canadian federalism. It discusses parliamentary federalism, regionalism, and the provincial government structure of Canada.
James A. McCann
This article studies the changing dimensions of the national elections in Mexico. It starts with a section on the arrival of competitive multiparty elections, where it discusses the dynamics found in well-fought electoral campaigns. It then provides a survey on how Mexicans viewed elections, representation, and their role as political actors. It considers public involvement in nomination politics and the trends of voter participation in national elections, and introduces the concept of voto remoto. Finally, the article identifies changing elements of electoral choices.
With growing recognition of the ‘localized’ causes and consequences of climate change, cities and subnational governments have been key actors and arenas in the development of policy responses. This article examines the emergence of the phenomenon of newly evolved major role of cities and subnational governments in policy making, and the roles they have played in orchestrating the response to climate change over the past two decades. It considers how and why urban and regional governments came to be at the forefront of responses to climate change, and the political geographies of that movement. In addition, it examines the nature of urban and regional responses to climate change, and considers the tensions emerging between the rhetoric and reality of the possibilities of addressing climate change. This article concludes discussing the potential and implications for cities and subnational governments in responding to climate change.
The Nigerian military has arguably been the most influential institution in the country’s post-independence history. Military governments ruled for twenty-nine of the thirty-three years between 1966 and 1999. During its three decades in power the military substantially altered the political architecture of the state. Although the military ceded power to an elected government nineteen years ago, it still influences national politics and defense policy, and has generated long-term conflicts that continued to be contested after the military left power. These conflicts bequeathed a legacy of politically motivated violence that was inherited by the subsequent civilian governments and has led to frequent and sustained military deployments. The frequency of deployments since 1999 has intensified civil–military animosity. It has also positioned the military as a prism through which underlying economic, ethnic, political, and religious conflicts are viewed and contested.
G. Albert Ruesga
This article examines the role of grassroots philanthropy in civil society. It explains the concept of grassroots philanthropy and evaluates whether poor people can or should be the prime movers in shaping programs that aim to change their condition. It argues that philanthropy “with, by and from” the grassroots is likely to be an important element of efforts to build the capacities and connections that are required to address social problems successfully in the future.
The underlying question addressed by this chapter is about the role of civil society in Israel in promoting or inhibiting democratic consolidation. The answer is based on three parameters: (a) mobilization, meaning the volume and substance of public participation; (b) integration, relating to civil society’s contribution to bridging social rifts; and (c) confrontation, regarding the antagonistic role of civil society. The reflection of these parameters in contemporary Israeli politics reveals a modest contribution to democracy. Mobilization is broad, but it is more ritualistic than real. Civil society does not play a significant role in enhancing tolerance and mutual respect. Challenging of the authorities is limited. It is the “bad” civil society, allied with the government coalition and mainstream ideology, that gains visibility, significance, and influence in public life.
Darren Kew and Chris Kwaja
This chapter briefly reviews the development of Nigerian civil society. It demonstrates how its relationship to the state has been central in determining civil society’s structure and overall orientation toward its role in politics. The chapter discerns four “generations” of Nigerian civil society groups, each with its own distinctive character and approach to the state. Overall, the chapter finds strong evidence that civil society has played an important part in democratizing Nigeria, but that its plural character and funding needs have also imposed limits on its ability to have impact when predatory political elites work to undermine these groups.
This article examines the role the military has played in the modern political life of Mexico. This role is analyzed within the civic-military relations that were secured after the revolution, the national security crisis, and the peculiarities in Mexico's process of democratization. It shows that Mexico has gone through a relevant process of democratization for the past twenty years, which has changed civic-military relations but left the most basic characteristics intact.
Toyin Falola and Matthew Heaton
This chapter examines the transformations brought about by British colonial rule in Nigeria, which began with the annexation of Lagos in 1861 and ended with the independence of Nigeria on October 1, 1960. Colonial rule transformed political, economic, social, and cultural dynamics among indigenous peoples. Indirect rule bound “traditional” rulers to British authority. The economy became increasingly dependent on exports. European education created a middle class of Nigerian civil servants and social activists both indebted to the colonial project and resistant to its racialist underpinnings. Resistance to colonial rule took a number of forms, incrementally moving Nigeria toward independence. However, decolonization also brought regionalization and a hardening of ethnic identities. British colonialism created Nigeria, but did little to make it a viable, stable, self-sustaining national entity. The historiography of colonial rule in Nigeria has been shaped by efforts to grapple with the antecedents of postcolonial crisis.