Constructing Democracy in Africa: Mali in Transition

Paperback | December 15, 2010

bySusanna D. Wing, Susanna D Wing

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Forty-one different African states have adopted over fifty-seven new constitutions since 1989; yet few of these have become foundations for democracy. Failed transitions, subsequent instability, and violent conflict make it clear that democracy cannot simply be constructed by holding elections and implementing new constitutions.

Unlike other attempts to explain both the frequent failures and the success stories of African constitutionalism by focusing on constitutional outcomes, Wing's study examines the process by which constitutions and democratic institutions are constructed. Based on extensive field work in Mali, this book explores how innovative constitutional dialogues involving participation, negotiation, and recognition of groups previously excluded from political decision-making may be the key to a legitimate constitution.

Winner of the 2009 Best Book Award from the African Politics Conference Group

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Forty-one different African states have adopted over fifty-seven new constitutions since 1989; yet few of these have become foundations for democracy. Failed transitions, subsequent instability, and violent conflict make it clear that democracy cannot simply be constructed by holding elections and implementing new constitutions. Unlike...

Susanna D. Wing is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Haverford College.

other books by Susanna D. Wing

Format:PaperbackDimensions:260 pages, 8.5 × 5.5 × 0.59 inPublished:December 15, 2010Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230109152

ISBN - 13:9780230109155

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Table of Contents

Introduction * Principles of Constitutionalism * Democratic Transitions and Their Legacies in Comparative Perspective * Originating Participation: The Sovereign National Conference * Integrating Citizens and the State: Decentralization and Elections * Challenges to Inclusion: Constitutionalism and the Rights of Women * Experiments in Dialogue * Dialogue in Times of Crisis * Conclusions: Dialogue and Legitimacy

Editorial Reviews

“Wing’s focus on constitutional legitimacy and literacy is a very welcome addition to analyses of democratic development on the African continent. She offers a rich discussion of the actual functioning of the new institutions and demonstrates not only the innovations of the forums but also the great challenges that citizens face in accessing them. Wing’s innovative analysis of constitutionalism in Mali…offer[s] important insights into the development of democracy that are relevant far beyond the case [she] investigates.”—Perspectives on Politics“This is an important and defining book about democratization in Africa focusing on the case of Mali, but within a comparative African perspective. Dr. Wing has a new and exciting perspective on the themes of democracy, constitutionalism, participation, and legitimacy, and Constructing African Democracy: Mali in Transition can be a real landmark in the field of comparative democratization in Africa, and in the study of constitutional transformation in plural societies.”—Bruce Magnusson, Professor of Politics, Whitman College