Gwybodaeth Modiwlau

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Other Staff

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 16 Hours. (16 x 1 hour)
Seminars / Tutorials 8 Hours. (8 x 1 hour)


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Assessment 1 x 1,000 word country briefing  20%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essays  40%
Semester Assessment 1 x 2,500 word essays  40%
Supplementary Assessment Students may, subject to Faculty approval, have the opportunity to resit this module, normally during the supplementary examination period. For further clarification please contact the Teaching Programme Administrator in the Department of International Politics.  Students failing the module will repeat only the failed component(s); those re-sitting failed coursework are required to select a different essay/assignment title and must not submit re-written versio 

Learning Outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to.
1) Identify the key legacies of colonialism in Africa, and assess their contemporary relevance for the African state
2) explain the development and prevalence of neo-patrimonialism, clientelism & authoritarianism
on the continent
3) critically assess the extent to which recent transitions to democracy have transformed state-society
4) identify, describe and account for instances of conflict, state collapse and warlordism on the continent
5) describe some of the ways in which global forces impact on domestic state-society relations
6) apply the general concepts and theories of African politics to specific empirical examples
7) utilize appropriate research methods to generate relevant information for specific case studies

Brief description

Many of our images of Africa are of famine, corruption, civil war and ethnic hatred. While there is no denying the prevalence of deprivation and violence on the continent, these images often obscure more than they convey about contemporary African politics. Africa is also a place of dynamic change and of economic, political and cultural transformations, signified most notably by the last decade¿s developments in South Africa, as well as the launch of the African Union and NEPAD. This module seeks to provide students with the theoretical and conceptual tools for analysing recent developments in sub-Saharan Africa, and covers some of the main debates and issues in the study of politics on the continent. It draws on examples and case studies from a wide range of countries, and students are encouraged to develop their knowledge of both continent-wide trends, and specific countries and regions.
The central focus of the module is on the relationship between state and society, or between rulers and ruled. Our point of departure is the observation that at independence African leaders shared one crucial challenge; the need to establish political authority over their territories and to forge bonds of solidarity between state and society. These territories frequently embodied ethnically, linguistically and culturally separate peoples, and in this sense most African countries were states before they were nations. The module examines the difficulties of establishing political legitimacy and constructing nation-states under such conditions, as well as the various results of the state¿s quest for hegemony, most notably neo-patrimonialism, clientelism, and authoritarianism. The module also explores key concepts such as nationalism, ethnicity, gender and class, and their role in African politics.
The module investigates society¿s response to the politics of exclusion, including the `wave of democratisation¿ on the continent. We explore the prevalence of conflict and critically evaluate contemporary explanations of conflict, warlordism and `state collapse¿. The module critically interrogates the discourses surrounding the `failed state¿, and seeks to illustrate the inter-linkages of domestic and international politics by showing how global forces influence African state-society relations, for example through structural adjustment programmes, environmental governance, the end of the cold war and `the war on terrorism¿. Finally, we explore the promise of NEPAD, transformation and reconciliation in South Africa, and other recent initiatives for Africa¿s future.


1: Introduction
2: Colonialism and its Legacies
3: African Nationalism, Class and Gender
4: The Postcolonial State
5: Corruption and neo-Patrimonialism
6: The Politics of Ethnicity
7: The Political Economy of War
8: The Failed State Thesis
9: Africa in the New World Order
10: Poverty and Structural Adjustment
11: The Third Wave of Democracy
12: Partnerships and the Politics of PRSPs
13: Peace Parks and Trans-boundary Conservation
14: Reconciliation and Transformation in the Rainbow Nation
15: NEPAD and the African Renaissance
16: Conclusion

Reading List

Recommended Text
A Thomson (2000) An Introduction to African Politics Routledge Primo search N Chazan, Lewis et al (1999) Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa Lynne Rienner Primo search


This module is at CQFW Level 6