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.
Monica Tabengwa and Matthew Waites
This chapter considers sexualities and genders in Africa by exploring the relationship between precolonial, colonial, and current forms of regulation. The field of research on sexual and gender diversity in Africa is introduced, including African lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and intersex (LGBTI) and queer research, with an emphasis on the need to challenge homogenizing characterizations of “homophobic Africa.” Differences between European colonialisms—such as the British, French, and Portuguese—are noted, with the British as the source of the most extensive legal criminalization of same-sex acts. Regarding recent developments, there is discussion of Uganda as a particularly concerning context, with the Anti-Homosexuality Act briefly passed into law in 2014, though later struck down by that country’s Supreme Court. The passage of Nigeria’s Same-Sex Marriage Prohibition Act in 2014 has similarly reflected homophobic state action. Yet it is also possible to note decriminalizations of same-sex sexual acts in several states including South Africa, Lesotho, the Seychelles, and Mozambique. Examples from Botswana and Kenya are used to discuss the value of strategic litigation in the courts as a way to achieve change. A final section discusses how African international governmental organizations, particularly the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, have become a focus for claims by organizations such as the Coalition of African Lesbians. The recent withdrawal observer status from the Coalition of African Lesbians occurred in a context of pressure from the African Union and exemplifies current tensions and conflicts in the continent.
The AKP’s Rhetoric of Rule in Turkey: Political Melodramas of Conspiracy from “Ergenekon” to “Mastermind”
In 2008 the Turkish Constitutional Court was one vote shy of banning the ruling AKP for “anti-secular activity.” In response, the AKP began articulating a series of political conspiracy narratives, amplified through the media. Blurring the line between representation and reality, these political melodramas set the stage for the exercise of state power through the weaponization of investigations and judicial retaliation against the military and the opposition. From 2008 to 2013, the “Ergenekon” conspiracy depicted an anti-Islamist deep state organization and its involvement in illegal activities including military coups and assassinations—as if it actually existed. The Ergenekon conspiracy (and attendant trials) initiated a profound change in Turkish politics by breaking the power of the traditional secular-military alliance. In 2014, Ergenekon led to a spin-off called “Mastermind”, which targeted the AKP’s erstwhile ally and political rival the Gülen Hizmet (or “Service”) Movement, a transnational Islamic educational and media network led by imam Fetullah Gülen. Gülenists, with their strong presence in the police and judiciary, had been instrumental in the Ergenekon prosecutions. Mastermind was later credited with the anti-AKP Gezi protests and a corruption investigation into then Prime Minister Erdoğan in 2013 as well as for the 2016 failed coup. Relying on a literary-cultural analysis of the political field, this chapter argues that conspiracism in Turkey has functioned to prefigure and legitimate authoritarian governance, whether secular or Islamist. I redefine conspiracy theories as popular fictions indexed to political movements that can instrumentalize legal and electoral processes for the accumulation of state power and the undermining of democratic pluralism.
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.
Israel’s Declaration of Independence proclaims full equality for all of Israel’s citizens and calls upon members of the Arab nation “to participate in the upbuilding of the State on the basis of full and equal citizenship.” This pledge has not been kept. On the one hand, the government is using its majority to legislate laws that undermine the status and legitimacy of the Arab citizens. On the other, since 2007 the same government has been investing a great deal of money in improving the economic conditions in the Arab localities. The tenuous relationship between Jews and Arabs is under constant pressure. Nonetheless, a change has begun to surface tacitly in the official state policy toward Arab citizens, recognizing the justification of equality, in economic terms. The three subsequent Knesset elections held in 2019–2020 strengthened the political representation and clout of the Arab citizens; however, the discriminating barrier, preventing their recognition as legitimate partners in the government coalition, has not been removed.
This chapter argues that the term ‘prostitute’ is part of the political grammar in Zimbabwe, used to discipline women’s participation in party politics. Rather than approaching the use of this term as an unfortunate but prosaic aspect of politics, it situates the term in the now well-documented history of colonial policing and administration. ‘Out of place’ black women were linked to chaos and social breakdown, spurring attempts to control their visibility and mobility. The chapter argues that in likening politicians to prostitutes, women who monetize their own sexual labour, the term reveals the extent to which the control of women’s bodies, sexuality, and labour remains a key focus of the post-independence state. Moreover, it examines the use of this term alongside the growing visibility and tacit acceptance of sex work in Zimbabwe’s cities. Drawing from media coverage and interviews, this chapter examines the careers of four Zimbabwean female political figures, Joice Mujuru and Grace Mugabe from ZANU-PF, along with Thabitha Khumalo and Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga from the MDC factions. It examines how these differently situated women have managed their public visibility under such constraints by deploying, rebuffing, or reappropriating the term prostitute.
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.
This chapter explores Australia’s well-deserved reputation as a democratic innovator and, in particular, an electoral innovator. This tendency has been driven substantially by two uniquely Australian inheritances: first, a relative absence of rights protections in the Constitution; and second, a pragmatic political culture less concerned with individualized rights than with utility, fairness, and equality. Australia introduced a number of electoral innovations that have defined and distinguished its democracy, some of which were enthusiastically adopted by other democracies. These include the secret ballot, preferential voting, mobile polling booths, Saturday voting, and, more recently, direct update. It was also an early adopter of women’s suffrage and compulsory voting, the latter of which is arguably Australia’s most important and consequential innovation. The latter also helped to drive the development of integrated, effective, and inventive electoral management that is respected the world over. All of these developments have resulted in an electoral system that is well managed and highly trusted and has unusually high and socially even rates of electoral inclusion. In turn, this has made Australian democracy quite robust.
Australia’s Federal Framework: Constitutional Fundamentals, Federal Institutions, and Intergovernmental Balance
Australia’s federal framework is fundamental and pervasive. This chapter explains the federal logic of the Australian Constitution, discusses the evolution of the federal system in light of the constitutional framework, and critically evaluates attempts to reform the system. It is argued that, while the Constitution was designed to allow a degree of flexibility in the operation of the federal system, the constitutional, legislative, and administrative changes that have been introduced, frequently supported by the High Court’s centralizing interpretations, have sometimes contributed to problems in the practical functioning of the system rather than ameliorating them. The result has been a path dependency that makes it difficult to institute reforms that would improve the operation and effectiveness of Australian federalism.
Australia’s place on the world stage has evolved dramatically over the past century. Although no longer preoccupied with isolation from the British Empire, Australia grapples with the challenges of its proximity at the apex of a diverse and dynamic Indo-Pacific. While holding out the aspirations of regional power with global interests, the island continent continues to be plagued by anxiety in its pursuit of place in a contested world. This chapter explores the contours of Australia’s contemporary place-making project. Recognizing the complexity of the subject matter, in which dimensions of history, memory, geography, economics, and culture collide, the chapter draws on the nation’s diplomatic practice as a lens through which to view the competing forces of change and continuity at play. It begins by noting that the theoretical underpinnings of Australian diplomacy raise interrelated concerns about material power and powerlessness, national security, and broad cultural values, all of which contribute to Australia’s evolving sense of place over key points in time. Despite claims that Australia’s approach to the outside world is gripped by repetitive impulses to ‘engage or retreat’, this chapter finds that ultimately, the nation’s place-making project tends towards openness over insularity, engagement over isolation, and activism over passivity. The central claim is that Australia’s constructive, yet pragmatic style of diplomacy—in its many forms—plays a critical though undervalued role in positioning the nation on the global and regional stage.
This chapter charts the evolution of Australian political parties and analyses the characteristics of Australian partisan politics, which are constantly evolving to balance the pragmatism of electoral politics with demands for effective representation and participation. The chapter highlights what is both similar and distinctive about Australian parties in comparative perspective, explores the influence of ideas from other political systems, and reflects on how Australian political culture, institutions, and parties have evolved in symbiosis. It examines changes in the nature of the party system and within parties as organizations, and contemplates the future of political parties as actors in Australian politics. As political parties worldwide continue to face rising levels of public disaffection with formal political institutions and rapidly changing technologies, the evolutionary trajectory of parties in Australia is becoming increasingly complex.
The majority of Australians live in capital cities, and the urban–rural divide represents one of the most deeply ingrained and enduring cleavages in Australian society. Regional governance is therefore a crucial part of place-making in Australian politics. This chapter highlights the strengths and challenges for local government in Australia, paying particular attention to regional and rural governance. It does so from two perspectives. The first is a top-down focus on the institutional arrangements that can either privilege or marginalize regional interests, and includes an examination of the constitutional, electoral, and executive forces that affect decision-making for these areas. The second perspective is bottom-up, and considers Australian citizens’ identification with, and sense of belonging to, regional areas. It draws on insights from recent survey data to analyse individual-level identities and their influence on political views, and also considers the broader contribution of the outback and the ‘bushman’ as important (if challenged) features of Australian national identity and popular rhetoric, which is accessible to both regional and metropolitan residents.
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.
Morgan Brigg and Lyndon Murphy
Australian scholarly knowledge of Indigenous politics is predominantly conducted on settler–colonial terms that elide Indigenous sociopolitical order and shape Indigenous agency. This manifests in an evolving form of ‘structured inattention’ that implicitly or explicitly accepts the bounds of settler rule and operates across apparently divergent policy phases regardless of party-political differences. Exceptions to this pattern have tended to have relatively less influence on public policy, but have persisted from the 1980s. Critical approaches are currently burgeoning, apparently in response to unresolved questions about how colonial domination shapes politics and governing, and how these phenomena are known and studied.
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.