Browsing Government & Politics Theses and Dissertations by Subject "Africa"
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ItemCorruption, Reform, and Revolution in Africa's Third Wave of Protest(2019) Lewis, Jacob Scott; McCauley, John F; Government and Politics; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)What explains diverging calls for reform and revolution in Africa over the past ten years? African countries have made substantial strides toward actual democratic devel-opment, including a concerted effort to address corruption. As African democracies have strengthened, calls by citizens for anti-corruption reform have grown, highlighting the progress that is being made. Yet, in recent years, some anti-corruption movements have called instead for revolution - completely replacing the state or seceding altogether. What explains these calls for revolution? I argue that we need to understand how differ-ent types of corruption shape contentious goals. When corruption generates material benefits, citizens lose trust in politicians but do not lose trust in the system. In response, they call for reform, seeking to improve the system. When corruption generates system-ic benefits (distorting the system altogether), citizens lose trust in the institutions and instead call for revolution. I test this using individual-level data from survey experi-ments as well as large-n surveys, and group-level data using statistical analysis of pro-test events as well as case studies. I find strong support that types of corruption matter greatly in shaping contentious politics in Africa. ItemELECTORAL LOSS AND CONTENTION(2019) Patch, Allison Kathryn; Birnir, Johanna K; Government and Politics; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)This dissertation is an exploration of the consequences of elections for those kept out of power. I draw from both the winner-loser gap literature, which explores attitude differences between winners and losers following elections focusing on individual voters as they process electoral results, and the electoral contention literature, which examines the causes and consequences of protests, riots, and violence connected to electoral contests focusing on the elites. My dissertation works to bring these two literatures by examining the factors that create opportunities for attitude and behavioral change for those who are unable to access power in the aftermath of elections. The first two papers use surveys to focus on individuals—their personal identities and their attitudes towards democracy and political contention or violence. The third paper examines the motivations of individual leaders in making public accusations of fraud and the consequences these accusations have on the voters’ perception of the legitimacy of elections and the likelihood of electoral contention. Through the ideas explored in these papers, this dissertation provides further context for differences in attitudes between winners and losers towards democracy and contention, while also cautioning some of the more dire predictions of the consequences of the gap in perceptions and attitudes between winners and losers. Additionally, by examining the ramifications of fraud accusations in the wake of election loss, we can see a better picture of the kinds of motivations that can successfully mobilize those out of power to contention. ItemExploring the Impact of Neighborhood on State-Building in sub-Saharan Africa(2013) Garcia, David; Reed, William L; Government and Politics; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)Why is state-building more advanced in some sub-Saharan African countries than in others? And, over time, what accounts for the steady gains, steady declines, or gains followed by declines (or vice-versa) observed in the state-building trajectories of Africa's states? This dissertation endeavors to shed light on these questions by assessing the impact of one suspected cause of state-building variation: the way power is distributed among states and their neighbors. Specifically, this dissertation assesses whether the relative distribution of power provides incentives or disincentives to regimes in charge of states to pursue policies that are conducive or detrimental to state-building. Employing OLS, two hypotheses are tested: one which predicts that regimes in charge of relatively weak states promote policies conducive to state-building, and another which predicts that regimes in charge of relatively weak states opt for a strategy of personal rule that runs counter to the imperatives of state-building. Findings are mixed and often contingent upon how state-building is measured; when state-building is assessed in terms of how proficiently the state regulates social and economic life, provides infrastructure services to its population, and promotes human development, support is found for the latter hypothesis. Yet when state-building is measured in terms of how well the state monopolizes the legitimate use of force or forges convergence between nations and the state, no statistically significant relationship in either direction is found. Thus, while there is at least some evidence that the regional distribution of power impacts the state-building process, it does not appear to do so quite as robustly as expected. ItemRisking War: Regime Crises, Political Exclusion and Indiscriminate Violence in Africa(2007-08-28) Roessler, Philip; Lichbach, Mark I.; Government and Politics; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)Between 1956 and 1999 one-third of the civil wars in the world occurred in sub-Saharan Africa. The prevailing explanation given to account for this fact is the economic weakness of African states. While low income is a robust determinant of civil war onset in global models, it is not as precise a predictor within sub-Saharan Africa. Instead, I argue that civil war is often a consequence of how African rulers respond to threats to regime survival, such as failed coups d'etat and other regime crises. In the wake of regime crises, rulers, concerned by their tenuous hold on power, seek to reduce the risk of future coups by eliminating disloyal agents from within the government and increasing spoils for more trusted clients to try to guarantee their support should another coup or threat materialize. The problem for the ruler is distinguishing loyal agents from traitors. To overcome this information problem rulers often use ethnicity as a cue to restructure their ruling networks, excluding perceived 'ethnic enemies' from spoils. The consequence of such ethnic exclusion is that, due to the weakness of formal state structures, the ruler forfeits his leverage over and information about such societal groups, undermining the government's ability to effectively prevent and contain violent mobilization and increasing the risk of civil war. To test this hypothesis, I employ a nested research design. The first part quantitatively tests the causal logic on a sample of 40 African countries between independence and 1999. I find that in the five years after a regime crisis there is a significant increase in the risk of civil war onset, often when the government resorts to indiscriminate violence to regulate the opposition. Part two examines this argument at the micro-level by examining two cases in Sudan based on hundreds of interviews during more than 14-months of fieldwork between 2005 and 2006. The second Sudan case illustrates that the civil war in Darfur in 2003 was a consequence of how the central government responded to a crisis within the Islamic movement in 1999 and 2000. ItemViolence and Belonging: The impact of citizenship law on violence in Sub-Saharan Africa(2016) Fruge, Anne Christine; Birnir, Johanna K; Government and Politics; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)Many countries in Africa are embroiled in heated debates over who belongs where. Sometimes insider/outsider debates lead to localized skirmishes, but other times they turn into minor conflict or even war. How do we explain this variation in violence intensity? Deviating from traditional explanations regarding democratization, political or economic inequality, or natural resources, I examine how nationality laws shape patterns in violence. Citizenship rules determine who is or is not a member of the national political community. Nationality laws formalize these rules, thus representing the legal bond between individuals and the state. Restrictive nationality laws increase marginalization, which fuels competition between citizenship regime winners and losers. This competition stokes contentious insider/outsider narratives that guide ethnic mobilization along the dual logics of threat and opportunity. Threats reduce resource levels and obstruct the exercise of rights. Opportunities provide the chance to reclaim lost resources or clarify nationality status. Other work explains conditions necessary for insider/outsider violence to break out or escalate from the local to the national level. I show that this violence intensifies as laws become more exclusive and escalates to war once an outsider group with contested foreign origins faces denationalization. Groups have contested foreign origins where the “outsider” label conflates internal and foreign migrants. Where outsiders are primarily in-migrants, it is harder to deny the group’s right to citizenship, so nationality laws do not come under threat and insider/outsider violence remains constrained to minor conflict. Using an original dataset of Africa’s nationality laws since 1989, I find that event frequency and fatality rates increase as laws become more restrictive. Through case studies, I explain when citizenship struggles should remain localized, or escalate to minor or major conflict. Next, I apply a nationality law lens to individual level conflict processes. With Afrobarometer survey data, I show that difficulty obtaining identity papers is positively correlated with the fear and use political violence. I also find that susceptibility to contentious narratives is positively associated with using violence to achieve political goals. Finally, I describe the lingering effects of a violent politics of belonging using original survey data from Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana.