Democratization Theorists and Transitional West African States
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I developed an interest in democratization when studying twentieth century Latin American history. I quickly learned that “democratization” comprises an entire field within political science. The distinction between an authoritarian regime and an elected government is not always a stark contrast; in truth, the differences between the two forms of government in many areas of the world are nuanced. Many years may elapse before a given country becomes truly “democratic.” This interim period is a “transitional” time when governments may or may not relapse. In this way, the extent of democratization in a given country may be ordered on a continuum relative to other countries. Political events, natural disasters, internal or external conflicts, among countless other factors, influences whether a given country becomes “more” or “less” democratic over time. The body of social science literature examining these processes attempts to offer substantive recommendations for achieving “more democracy.” Africa is a continent sorely in need of this advice. The purpose of my paper is to question the relevance of a few selected theorists.