Public opinion and democratic legitimacy

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When the third wave of democracy washed across Africa in the early 1990s, leading Africanists openly questioned whether civil liberties, multi-party elections, and representative institutions held any real meaning for ordinary Africans. Many suggested that the reforms that restored political rights and civil liberties, and ushered in multi-party elections, had taken place simply as a function of economic crisis (e.g. Bates 1994), or pressure from international actors such as the International Monetary Fund and World Bank (e.g. Munslow 1993; Young 1993; Nwajiaku 1994). Little attention, in contrast, was paid to the desires of Africans themselves.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRoutledge Handbook of Democratization in Africa
EditorsGabrielle Lynch, Peter VonDoepp
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)978-1-138-08124-6
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2019


  • public opinion
  • democratic legitimacy


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  • Afrobarometer

    Mattes, R., Gyimah-Boadi, E., Bratton, M., Logan, C., Dulani, B. & Mitullah, W.

    14/09/98 → …

    Project: Research

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