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Coups, Rivals, and the Modern State
Why Rural Coalitions Matter in Sub-Saharan Africa

$99.99 (C)

  • Date Published: March 2018
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108420464

$ 99.99 (C)

Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
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About the Authors
  • State development in Africa is risky, even life-threatening. Heads of state must weigh the advantage of promoting political and economic development against the risk of fortifying dangerous political rivals. This book takes a novel approach to the study of neopatrimonial rule by placing security concerns at the center of state-building. Using quantitative evidence from 44 African countries and in-depth case studies of Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire, Rabinowitz demonstrates that the insecurities of the African state make strategically aligning with rural leaders critical to political success. Leaders who cultivate the goodwill of the countryside are better able to endure sporadic urban unrest, subdue political challengers, minimize ethnic and regional discord, and prevent a military uprising. Such regimes are more likely to build infrastructure needed for economic and political development. In so doing, Rabinowitz upends the long-held assumption that African leaders must cater to urban constituents to secure their rule.

    • An extensive resource offering a quantitative and qualitative analysis of state development across forty-four African states
    • Proposes new typology of neo-patrimonial strategies
    • Presents engaging historical narratives of specific leaders and their attempts to hold power
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    Reviews & endorsements

    Advance praise: ‘Through extensive research and perspicacious theorizing, Beth Rabinowitz has developed an innovative and compelling argument about the significance of a 'rural political strategy' for statebuilding in Africa. Rulers who build coalitions in the countryside are less prone to coups and more likely to develop their economies than leaders who focus on urban areas and consolidating power. Building on a deep tradition in the study of African politics, Rabinowitz breaks new ground in the study of urban-rural dynamics by demonstrating empirically how a rural political strategy contributes to stability. Her book is a key contribution for those who wish to understand the structural foundations of politics in Africa.' Scott Straus, University of Wisconsin, Madison

    Advance praise: 'Beth S. Rabinowitz brings territorial politics back into the study of postcolonial African states. This valuable study is an important counterweight to conventional stories of 'urban bias' in African politics, and a historical corrective to work that takes 1990s multipartism as the 'beginning of politics'. Rabinowitz's argument that strong agricultural policies stabilized some of the continent's most successful regimes is developed in a structured comparison of Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire, and then extended across a set of 135 governments (in 44 countries) in postcolonial Africa. A new and important argument.' Catherine Boone, London School of Economics and Political Science

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2018
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108420464
    • length: 320 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 157 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.66kg
    • contains: 29 b/w illus. 22 tables
    • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from TBC
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Setting the Stage:
    1. A new theory of coalition politics
    2. Patterns of rule in Africa
    3. Rural alliances and coup risk: testing the theory
    Part II. Forging Coalitions:
    4. Alienating rural allies – Kwame Nkrumah 1947–1957
    5. Aligning with regional foes – Félix Houphouët-Boigny 1945–1960
    Part III. Consolidating Power:
    6. An urban strategy unravels – Kwame Nkrumah 1957–1966
    7. A rural strategy builds a nation – Félix Houphouët-Boigny 1960–1980
    Part IV. Reversal of Fortune:
    8. Reviving the state – J. J. Rawlings 1979–1999
    9. Losing the periphery – Henri Konan Bédié 1980–1999
    10. Structure not strategy? Examining alternative explanations

  • Author

    Beth S. Rabinowitz, Rutgers University, New Jersey
    Beth S. Rabinowitz is Assistant Professor at Rutgers State University of New Jersey. Her research focuses on regime strategies and political stability in sub-Saharan Africa.

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