State development in Sub-Saharan Africa
Peltier, Jean-Philippe N.
Lawson, Letitia L.
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The universal theory of state formation, as discussed by Weber, Tilly and others, is relevant and appropriate to Africa when properly applied. Africa has her own unique history and the variables affecting state development, such as land tenure, remain the same. The value of these variables is what differs from the European experience. As such, state development in Africa remains strikingly similar throughout its history. It is a struggle between the center and the periphery in which the center is hindered by three commonalities: lack of centralization, communal land ownership and patron-client systems. These commonalities worked against centralization, each building on the other and helping the periphery maintain a degree of independence rarely seen in other regions of the world. To understand modern Africa is to look at her past and see how remarkably constant her society has been. After reviewing the available literature, this thesis delves into AfricaÎ±s past and shows how important it is to the understanding of her present condition. In the end, it will draw out both domestic and international policy implications for sub-Saharan Africa.
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