This volume explores the issues and debates surrounding the ongoing processes of democratization in sub-Saharan Africa, illuminating the central dynamics characterizing Africa’s democratic experiments, and considering the connections between democratization and economic, social, and cultural developments on the continent.

Reflecting the diverse and rich nature of this field of study, the Handbook of Democratization in Africa features more than thirty contributions structured into six thematic sections:

  • The politics and paths of regime development
  • Institutional dynamics
  • Political mobilization and voting dynamics
  • The politics of identity
  • Social forces from below
  • The consequences of democracy.

Chapters offer overviews of the key scholarship on particular topics, including central insights from the latest research, and provide suggestions for those interested in further inquiry. The material includes attention to broad cross-continental patterns, for example with respect to public opinion, political violence, or the role of different institutions and actors. It also includes rich case material, drawing on and highlighting the experiences of a diverse collection of countries.

Encouraging a comprehensive view of key concerns and enhancing understanding of particular issues, the Handbook of Democratization in Africa represents a critical resource for experts and students of African politics, democratization, and African studies.

chapter |14 pages


Democracy in practice—diversity and complexity
ByGabrielle Lynch, Peter VonDoepp

part I|2 pages

The politics and paths of regime development

chapter 1|21 pages

Neopatrimonialism and democracy

ByRachel Sigman, Staffan I. Lindberg

chapter 2|14 pages

Pathways to democracy

ByNic Cheeseman

chapter 3|11 pages

Post-conflict democratization and power-sharing

ByAndreas Mehler

chapter 4|15 pages

The impact of foreign aid

ByTessa Devereaux Evans, Nicolas van de Walle

chapter 5|11 pages

Natural resources

ByCyril Obi

part II|2 pages

Institutional dynamics

chapter 6|13 pages

Federalism and devolution

ByMai Hassan

chapter 7|13 pages

The struggle for presidential term limits

ByBoniface Dulani

chapter 8|14 pages

Executive power and horizontal accountability 1

ByLandry Signé

chapter 9|16 pages

The politics of legislative development

ByKen Ochieng’ Opalo

chapter 10|14 pages

Judicial power

ByRachel Ellett

chapter 11|13 pages


ByKristen A. Harkness

chapter 12|14 pages

Electoral administration

ByMamoudou Gazibo

part III|2 pages

Political mobilization and voting dynamics

chapter 13|14 pages

Voting behavior

ByJames D. Long

chapter 14|12 pages


ByJorge Gallego, Leonard Wantchekon

chapter 15|15 pages

Campaign strategies

ByEric Kramon

chapter 16|14 pages

Political parties and party systems

ByAlexander Stroh

chapter 17|12 pages

Opposition coalitions

ByNicole Beardsworth

chapter 18|15 pages

The use of electoral violence

ByDorina A. Bekoe, Stephanie M. Burchard

part IV|2 pages

The politics of identity

chapter 19|14 pages

Christianity and democracy

ByAmy S. Patterson

chapter 20|13 pages

Islam and democracy

ByBrandon Kendhammer

chapter 21|15 pages

Gender politics

ByMartha C. Johnson, Melanie L. Phillips

chapter 22|12 pages

Ethnic politics 1

ByDominika Koter

chapter 23|14 pages

Generational dynamics and youth politics

ByRansford Edward Van Gyampo

part V|2 pages

Social forces from below

chapter 24|19 pages

Public opinion and democratic legitimacy

ByRobert Mattes

chapter 25|14 pages

Civil society

ByPeter VonDoepp

chapter 26|14 pages

Digital media, networked spaces, and politics

ByWisdom J. Tettey

chapter 27|12 pages

Popular protest and accountability

ByLisa Mueller

chapter 28|13 pages

Urban politics

ByDanielle Resnick

part VI|2 pages

The consequences of democracy

chapter 29|15 pages

Economic growth and development

ByPeter M. Lewis

chapter 30|14 pages


ByDominic Burbidge, Mark Philp

chapter 31|12 pages

Sexual minority rights

ByKuukuwa Andam, Marc Epprecht

chapter 32|13 pages


BySara Rich Dorman