Property and Political Order in Africa: Land Rights and the Structure of Politics
In sub-Saharan Africa, property relationships around land and access to natural resources vary across localities, districts and farming regions. These differences produce patterned variations in relationships between individuals, communities and the state. This book captures these patterns in an analysis of structure and variation in rural land tenure regimes. In most farming areas, state authority is deeply embedded in land regimes, drawing farmers, ethnic insiders and outsiders, lineages, villages and communities into direct and indirect relationships with political authorities at different levels of the state apparatus. The analysis shows how property institutions - institutions that define political authority and hierarchy around land - shape dynamics of great interest to scholars of politics, including the dynamics of land-related competition and conflict, territorial conflict, patron-client relations, electoral cleavage and mobilization, ethnic politics, rural rebellion, and the localization and 'nationalization' of political competition.
The book received the 2016 Luebbert Best Book Award in Comparative Politics, awarded by APSA. The book has been widely recognized for its contributions to the field of comparative politics, also winning the 2015 African Politics Conference Group (APCG) Best Book Award and receiving an Honourable Mention for the African Studies Association’s 2015 Herskovits Best Book Award.
JP Jacob's review in Anthropologie & développement is here.
Political Topographies of the African State: Territorial Authority and Institutional Choice
This 2003 study brings Africa into the mainstream of studies of state-formation in agrarian societies. Territorial integration is the challenge: institutional linkages and political deals that bind center and periphery are the solutions. In African countries, as in territorially diverse states around the world, rulers at the center are forced to bargain with regional elites to establish stable mechanisms of rule and taxation. Variation in regional forms of social organization make for differences in the interests and political strength of regional leaders who seek to maintain or enhance their power vis-à-vis their followers and subjects, and also vis-à-vis the center. The uneven political topography of the regions ultimately produces unevenness in the patterns and depth of center-region linkage. Six sub-regions of three West African countries - Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, and Ghana - are the backbone of the study.
Read the Front Matter here.
Merchant Capital and the Roots of State Power in Senegal
In most post-colonial regimes in sub-Saharan Africa, state power has been used to structure economic production in ways that have tended to produce economic stagnation rather than growth. In this 1993 book, Catherine Boone examines the ways in which the exercise of state power has inhibited economic growth, focusing on the case of Senegal. She traces changes in the political economy of Senegal from the heyday of colonial merchant capital in the 1930s to the decay of the 1980s and reveals that old trading monopolies and commercial hierarchies were preserved at the cost of reforms that would have stimulated economic growth. Boone uses this case to develop an argument against analyses of political-economic development that identify state institutions and ideologies as independent forces driving the process of economic transformation. State power, she argues, is rooted in the material and social bases of ruling alliances.
Martin A. Klein's review in Canadian Journal of African Studies is here.