Globalization and narrowing the scope of democracy in Africa

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


At a time when democracy has made notable strides in being accepted as a universal value (Sen, 1997), it seems to be encountering a growing threat from globalization. The principal objective of this chapter is to examine how the post-Cold War phase of the global capitalist order (globalization) has impacted the democratization struggle in Africa. An analysis of the relationship between globalization and democracy is rather complex, partly because the two variables are processes that take considerable time to develop. The relationship cannot be meaningfully established by simply measuring outcomes. It can, however, be captured to a satisfactory degree by analyzing how the structural and institutional changes associated with globalization impact the scope of democracy, impinge on the relationships among social classes, and alter state-society relations. The latter two are indirect but critical indicators of the democratization process. The relationship between democracy and globalization is also highly controversial partly because there is little agreement as to what globalization entails. A brief conceptualization of globalization is thus necessary. The chapter is divided into five parts. The first part discusses the essence of globalization. Part two examines the scope of the conception of democracy projected by globalization and the relevance and limitations of this type of democracy to African realities. Part three discusses how globalization has impacted relations among social classes in the African context. Part four examines how globalization has impacted state-society relations in Africa. The last part draws concluding remarks about the implications of globalization on Africa's struggle for democratization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHuman Rights, the Rule of Law, and Development in Africa
PublisherUniversity of Pennsylvania Press
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)9780812237832
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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