African Politics in Comparative Perspective

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Cambridge University Press, Dec 5, 2005 - Political Science
2 Reviews
This 2006 book reviews fifty years of research on politics in Africa. It synthesizes insights from different scholarly approaches and offers an interpretation of the knowledge accumulated over the years. It discusses how research on African politics relates to the study of politics in other regions. It focuses on such key issues as the legacy of a movement approach to political change, the nature of the state, the economy of a location, the policy deficit, the agrarian question, gender and politics and ethnicity and conflict. It ends by reviewing what scholars agree upon and what the accumulated knowledge offers as insights for more effective political and policy reforms. This book is for undergraduate and graduate courses in African and Comparative Politics as well as development-oriented courses in Political Science and related disciplines. It is also of great relevance to governance and development analysts and practitioners in international organizations.

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As one who teaches African politics, this is really an excellent book that highlights major concerns across the continent. Hyden delves into the issues, identifying major contextual problems that have shaped countries today. Yeah, it's a little dry, but the material itself is fantastic.

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This is one of the worst books I have read in recent memory. Hyden has very little personal opinion, book reads like a glossary of footnotes of other writers on the subject. Examples are infrequent, and where present, poorly explained or analyzed. More space is devoted to the writings of Marx than actual events which happened in Africa.  


1 The Study of Politics and Africa
2 The Movement Legacy
3 The Problematic State
4 The Economy of Affection
5 Big Man Rule
6 The Policy Deficit
7 The Agrarian Question
8 Gender and Politics
9 Ethnicity and Conflict
10 The External Dimension
11 So What Do We Know?
12 Quo Vadis Africa?

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About the author (2005)

Goran Hyden is a Distinguished Professor in Political Science at the University of Florida.

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