Release:2020, Vol. 6. № 1 (21)
About the author:Zinaida N. Sokova, Dr. Sci. (Hist.), Professor, Department of New History and Global Politics, University of Tyumen; firstname.lastname@example.org; ORCID: 0000-0003-4366-3771
The article is devoted to the study of the dynamics of political modernization in West Africa in the first decade of independent development. The author analyses the formation of political systems, the emergence of democratic institutions, and the causes of their crisis as well as the emergence of military and civilian authoritarian regimes. The author draws on legislative acts, documents of state authorities and governing bodies, evidence of contemporaries, expert assessments and explores national mechanisms of political leadership and governance using the examples of Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone.
The national specifics of political systems and the characteristics of political culture exclude the possibility of highlighting the “universal” model of power relations that is valid in all countries of the region. At the same time, a comparison of these processes with similar phenomena that took place in other parts of the post-colonial world allows concluding that the development of the political space of West Africa had regionally special features. At the same time, the country approach to the topic made it possible to identify the specific influence of the state and its institutions on the life of society, as well as to form an idea of the variety of forms and methods of political rule.
The significance of the scientific analysis of the formation of national statehood rests upon the incompleteness of our ideas about the ruling groups and their role in the system of public administration in West Africa. The article shows that many politically active groups of society — professional politicians, military men, officials, technocrats, and leaders of religious organizations — joined the struggle for control over state structures. Social conflicts, coupled with ethnic, regional, confessional contradictions, shook the fragile political regimes that developed in the late 1950s and early 1960s.
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