Do elections turn people into democratic citizens? Elections have long been seen as a way to foster democracy, development and security in Africa, with many hoping that the secret ballot would transform states. Adopting a new approach that focusses on the moral economy of elections, Nic Cheeseman, Gabrielle Lynch and Justin Willis show how elections are shaped by competing visions of what it means to be a good leader, bureaucrat or citizen. Using a mixed-methods study of elections in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, they explore moral claims made by officials, politicians, civil society, international observers and voters themselves. This radical new lens reveals that elections are the site of intense moral contestation, which helps to explain why there is such vigourous participation in processes that often seem flawed. Demonstrating the impact of these debates on six decades of electoral practice, they explain why the behaviour of those involved so frequently transgresses national law and international norms, as well as the ways in which such transgressions are evaluated and critiqued - so that despite the purported significance of 'vote-buying', the candidates that spend the most do not always win.
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Elections have long been seen as a way to foster democracy, development and security in Africa. This study of elections in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda over the last sixty years offers a radical approach to look at the ideas and behavior of participants in elections to demonstrate why elections have not transformed politics as was hoped.
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Introduction. Writing African elections; 1. Towards a moral economy of elections in Africa; 2. Elections, states and citizens: a history of the ballot in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda; Part I. Promoting Civic Virtue: National Exercises: 3. Making states and citizens through the ballot; 4. The eyes of the world are upon us: the aspirations and limitations of international election observation; 5. Creating democrats: Civil society and voter education; Part II. The Moral Economy in Action: 6. Performing virtue: politicians, leadership and election campaigns; 7. Navigating multiple moralities: popular expectations and experiences of the polls; 9. Conclusion: the electoral fallacy revisited.
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'A fresh and nuanced exploration of elections in Africa through the lens of moral virtue. How do political actors - citizens, politicians, officials - endeavor to 'do the right thing' (as they see it) about voting, seeking office and managing the polls? Using multiple research methods, the authors uncover a range of complex popular conceptions of good leadership and proper elections. They find that, in resolving tensions between civic virtue and patrimonial obligation, many Africans are constructing forms of political accountability that are culturally authentic.' Michael Bratton, Michigan State University'Cheeseman, Lynch and Willis critically examine the behavior of key actors in Africa's electoral processes. Drawing on the tension between civil and patrimonial registers, this book offers new and provocative insights into the dynamics of African elections. Highly relevant for students and scholars of African politics and beyond.' Sebastian Elischer, University of Florida'A timely and important book on ideas of virtue and the moral economy of elections in Africa. It is comprehensive in its comparison of Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda and is an essential read for scholars of politics.' Peace A. Medie, University of Bristol'Why do people invest time, money and energy in elections that are not free and fair? This provocative book draws on careful research in Kenya, Uganda and Ghana to persuasively argue that a politics of virtue is at play, in which both voters and politicians use elections to stake out moral claims. The book, which challenges conventional understandings of elections, such as those that focus on patrimonial and ethnic politics, is certain to gain recognition as one of the most important theoretical works on African politics.' Aili Mari Tripp, University of Wisconsin, Madison
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A radical new approach to understanding Africa's elections: explaining why politicians, bureaucrats and voters so frequently break electoral rules.


Cambridge University Press
503 gr
229 mm
152 mm
20 mm
05, 06, U, P
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Om bidragsyterne

Nic Cheeseman is Professor of Democracy and International Development at the University of Birmingham. He is the author or editor of ten books, including Democracy in Africa (2015) and How to Rig an Election (2018), and his research has won a number of prizes including the Frank Cass Award for the best article in Democratization (2015) and the Joni Lovenduski Prize for outstanding professional achievement by a midcareer scholar (2019) from the UK Political Studies Association. He is the founding editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of African Politics and the founder of Gabrielle Lynch is Professor of Comparative Politics at the University of Warwick. She is the author of over 30 articles and book chapters, and author or editor of five books, including I Say to You: Ethnic Politics and the Kalenjin in Kenya (2011) and Performances of Injustice: The Politics of Truth, Justice and Reconciliation in Kenya (2018). She is the Vice President of the British Institute in Eastern Africa and Deputy Chair of the Review of African Political Economy, and wrote a regular column in Kenya's Saturday Nation (2014-2018) and The East African (2015-2017). Justin Willis is Professor in History at Durham University. He is the author of Mombasa, the Swahili and the Making of the Mijikenda (1993), Potent Brews: A Social History of Alcohol in East Africa 1850-1999 (2002) and co-editor of The Sudan Handbook (2011) - well as numerous articles on the history and politics of Ghana, Kenya, Sudan, and Uganda. He has previously served as Director of the British Institute in Eastern Africa.