Book salon: ‘Democratic Backsliding in Africa?’ – an interview with Lise Rakner

24th April 16:15 (in person) at Bergen Global.

As part of the Book Salons on Constitution, Courts, and Politics, UiB students along with Siri Gloppen interview Lise Rakner on her book ‘Democratic Backsliding in Africa?‘. 

This event is free to attend and open to all.

About the book:

Why have most African countries not achieved greater political liberalization? What explains the lack of progress toward the ideals of liberal democracy across the region? This book advances ongoing debates on democratic backsliding with specific reference to Africa. In examining how incumbent leaders in African countries attempt to contain societal pressures for greater democracy, the chapters explain how governments go beyond the standard tools of manipulation, such as electoral fraud and political violence, to keep democracy from unfolding in their countries. The book emphasizes two distinct strategies that governments frequently use to reinforce their hold on power – the legal system and the international system – but which remain overlooked in conventional analyses; it also documents how governments employ the law to limit the scope of action among citizens and civil society activists struggling to expand democratic liberties, including the use of constitutional provisions and the courts. The work further demonstrates how governments use their role in international relations to neutralize pressure from external actors, including sovereigntist claims against foreign intervention and selective implementation of donor-promoted policies. While pro-democracy actors can also employ these legal and international strategies to challenge incumbents, in some cases to prevent democratic backsliding, the book shows why and how incumbents have enjoyed institutional advantages when implementing these strategies through six country case studies of Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.