Aspects of democracy and democratisation in Zambia and Botswana : exploring African political culture at the grassroots

TitleAspects of democracy and democratisation in Zambia and Botswana : exploring African political culture at the grassroots
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1995
AuthorsW.M.J. van Binsbergen
Secondary TitleJournal of contemporary African studies
Volume13
Issue1
Pagination3 - 33
Date Published1995///
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAfrica, Botswana, democracy, Democratization, fieldwork, Kalanga, Nkoya, Tswana, Zambia
Abstract

The current discussion on democratization in Africa tends towards Eurocentrism in that it pays insufficient attention to the analytical and methodological implications of cultural imperialism, localization, wrongly claimed universality, and the social price of relativism. Conceptually, formal constitutional democracy is only one variant of democracy among others, and besides, it is an item of political culture which has only relatively recently been introduced to Africa. Recent developments among Nkoya peasants of Kaoma district, Zambia, and working-class townsmen from Francistown, Botswana, most of whom identify themselves ethnically as Kalanga or Tswana, suggest that the democratization movement is only another phase in the ongoing political transformation of Africa. In the course of this process, by an interplay of local and national (ultimately global) conceptions of political power, indigenous constitutional, philosophical and sociological alternatives of political legitimacy are tested, and subsequently accommodated or discarded as obsolete. The author carried out anthropological fieldwork among the Zambian Nkoya in 1972-1974, and in Francistown in 1988-1989, and in both cases has made repeated return visits since. Bibliogr., notes, ref

IR handle/ Full text URLhttp://hdl.handle.net/1887/9081
Citation Key1522