A Decade of Democracy in Africa by Stephen N. Ndegwa

By Stephen N. Ndegwa

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235), and goes on to express his skepticism about the emergence of such norms in Africa. This paper takes exactly the opposite position: we must excise norms from the definition of civil society in order to allow us to examine a variety of norms that might inform civil society. We can then analyze the myriad conflicts and tensions that pessimists have noted within African civil society. Rather than rendering the concept of civil society useless, ethnic, regional, religious, class, gender, and other conflicts are important areas for research.

B ERRY, Sara 1993 No Condition is Permanent. Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin Press. ” Pp. 73-100 in Civil Society and the State, edited by John Keane. New York: Verso. ” Pp. 51-81 in Civil Society and the State in Africa, edited by John W. Harbeson et al. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. ” World Politics 46(July):453-89. C ALLAGHY, Thomas M. ” Pp. 231-53 in Civil Society and the State in Africa, edited by John W. Harbeson et al. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner. 36 STEPHEN ORVIS C HABAL, Patrick and Jean-Pascal DALOZ 1999 Africa Works: Disorder as Political Instrument.

This usually occurs within an ethnic group; except for those near the apex of the system, clientelist ties across ethnic boundaries are rare. Both patron-client networks and ethnic political blocs, then, are not unchanging ascriptive political phenomena. To some extent, they are subject to the demands of their members as individuals; patrons/leaders unable to provide adequately will ultimately lose their clients and with them their political position. By supporting the best patron available, clients gain a form of participation in the system, and a means of voicing at least some of their demands to the patron, and via him to the state.

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