Wednesday, March 22, 2017-St. Augustine Center, Room 300
12:00-1:30-Lunch will be provided
Democratization and the State in Portuguese Africa: Cape Verdean Exceptionalism in Comparative-Historical Perspective
This paper explores examines Cape Verde’s successful democratic consolidation in comparative-historical perspective with other Lusophone African states. Despite inheriting a single-party authoritarian regime at independence, Cape Verde has quietly emerged into one of Africa’s most successful and consolidated democracies (see Baker 2006; Evora 2007), while other Lusophone African states have struggled to democratize. Using archival records and secondary literature, this paper demonstrates that Cape Verde’s colonial state was the most effective at maintaining territorial hegemony and developing a uniform legal code with inclusive citizenship rights, thereby contributing to higher literacy rates and a broader political franchise than in any other Portuguese African colony. These developmental advantages persisted after independence, as Cape Verde continued to develop a robust civil society that facilitated its democratic transition and consolidation during the 1990s. This conclusion is consistent with earlier studies highlighting the lasting developmental and political legacies of colonial state development and state-society relations (see Lange 2009, 2004; Acemoglu, Johnson & Robinson 2002, 2001; Mamdani 1996).