Political Parties and Party Systems in Africa: Themes and Research Perspectives

Abstract

The last decade of the twentieth century was characterised by a resurgence of multipartism in Africa. The return of political parties produced a discontinuity not only in the continent's political life, but also in the study of African politics. A number of new researches were carried out that were largely based on existing theories and concepts in political science. These new works thus contributed to an increased integration of the study of politics south of the Sahara with mainstream political science. The present article provides an overview of the insights and advances that these studies have produced, focusing on the key issues raised by the return of party pluralism in Africa and on the utility of existing models, theories and approaches for its understanding. There is little doubt that recent research efforts have advanced our knowledge of the changing politics of the continent. However, neither the elaboration of theoretical frameworks nor the detail of empirical knowledge has achieved adequate levels of development as yet.

Citation

World Political Science Review (2007) 3 (3) Article 1. [DOI: 10.2202/1935-6226.1023]

Political Parties and Party Systems in Africa: Themes and Research Perspectives

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