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Political Topographies of the African State


  • 1 b/w illus. 7 maps 7 tables
  • Page extent: 422 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.79 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 320.96
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: JQ1879.A15 B66 2003
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Africa--Politics and government
    • Central-local government relations--Africa
    • Tribal government--Africa
    • Sociology, Rural--Africa

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521825573 | ISBN-10: 0521825571)

This 2003 study brings Africa into the mainstream of studies of state-formation in agrarian societies. Territorial integration is the challenge: institutional linkages and political deals that bind center and periphery are the solutions. In African countries, as in territorially diverse states around the world, rulers at the center are forced to bargain with regional elites to establish stable mechanisms of rule and taxation. Variation in regional forms of social organization make for differences in the interests and political strength of regional leaders who seek to maintain or enhance their power vis-à-vis their followers and subjects, and also vis-à-vis the center. The uneven political topography of the regions ultimately produces unevenness in the patterns and depth of center-region linkage. Six sub-regions of three West African countries - Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, and Ghana - are the backbone of the study.

• Multi-country study of politics and political development in Africa • Book places African political development in the mainstream of studies of state-formation in agrarian studies • Study combines macrosociology with choice-theoretic perspectives in Political Science


1. Introduction; 2. Mapping institutional topography; 3.1 Uneven institutional topography within one state; 3.2 Powersharing in Senegal's groundnut basin; 3.3 Administrative occupation in Casamance; 3.4 Conclusion; 4.1 Taxing rich peasants: ideology as strategy; 4.2 Usurping 'rightful rulers': Asante; 4.3 'Local powers do not exist': southern Cote d'Ivoire; 4.4 Conclusion; 5.1 The geopolitics of late development; 5.2 Path switching in northern Cote d'Ivoire; 5.3 Path switching in the Senegal River Valley; 5.4 Conclusion: why institutional strategies change; 6. Conclusion.


'This book deserves to be read widely by Africa specialists across several disciplines, and by those interested in the broader comparative study of agrarian state.' Journal of African History

'This important book utilizes a well-aimed political-economy approach to address crucial themes for development and state building in present-day Africa. … takes the reader on a delightful journey to understanding the implications of regional variation in rural African political processes … A must for those with interests bordering on regional systems.' Regional and Federal Studies

'the thoroughness of her analysis enables Boone to sustain a compelling argument as to the enormous variation in the state building practices pursued by national governments in post-colonial African states and the success of these practices. In so doing, Boone hasd opened new avenues, along which African scholars can proceed and examine post-colonial state development in other parts of the continent.' African Affairs

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