Call for Papers | Cadernos de Estudos Africanos: Three decades of elections in Africa

A call for papers is open for a thematic issue of the journal Cadernos de Estudos Africanos dedicated to the topic Three decades of elections in Africa: what have we learned about democracy?.

The editors for this issue are Edalina Rodrigues Sanches (Instituto de Ciências Sociais, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal), José Jaime Macuane (Departamento de Ciência Política e Administração Pública, Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, Moçambique), and Chipo Dendere (Amherst College, Massachussets, United States of America).

Call for papers:

Some three decades have passed since the inception of democratic experiments in Africa, and the study of elections remains both topical and vibrant. A dominant view in the literature suggests that multiparty elections had limited transformative impact in Africa. Instead of producing alternation in power and more democratic regimes, the successive rounds of elections led to the emergence of new types of nondemocratic government (electoral authoritarian, competitive authoritarian) and to the proliferation of dominant party systems, where the former authoritarian parties still hold a considerable share of votes/seats. World indexes place the continent as the worst in terms of electoral integrity due to persisting episodes of (pre-or-post) electoral violence, vote buying and fraud. Though all this reinforces the narrative that elections in Africa are but a “shadow of democracy” (Adejumobi 2000), it is also true that multiparty elections have become common place and in some cases gave birth to exemplar democracies (Cape Verde, Ghana or Mauritius, just to mention a few cases).

This special issue, entirely devoted to the study of recent elections in Africa, intends to understand what is behind stories of failure or success. While most contributions emphasize the procedural aspects of elections, the main goal here is to look at more substantive aspects that are often neglected. More specifically, we invite contributors to focus on the following (and other related) questions:

  • How do parties/candidates campaign?
  • How are policy issues framed?
  • What explains variations in vote patterns over time and across constituencies?
  • What is the role of institutions?
  • What is the role of electoral management bodies and Electoral Justice?
  • What are the effects of urbanization and new social media on electoral strategies and voting behavior?
  • What is the effect of liberation movement parties on elections?
  • What are the emerging trends in politics (e.g. populism, celebrity politicians)?

Given the nature of the questions raised, we are particularly interested in democratic contexts that encompass a range of political liberties and civil rights but also those mixed settings which have been labeled as competitive authoritarian (Levitsky & Way 2010) or as hybrid (Diamond 2002). The articles should be explicit in terms of questions and goals and on what empirical material will be used.

Contributions should be sent to and with the subject “Three decades of elections in Africa: what have we learned about democracy?’” until 31 May 2019. Authors will be notified of the article acceptance until 30 June 2019.

Submitted papers must be original and written in English (see publication guidelines here).

More information about Cadernos Estudos Africanos.

The call is open until May 31, 2019.

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CEI-Iscte (Centre for International Studies) is a university-based multidisciplinary research center at ISCTE - Instituto Universitário de Lisboa (ISCTE-IUL). CEI-Iscte aims at promoting interdisciplinary research in Social Sciences, International Relations and Economy, focusing in its areas of geographic specialisation: Africa, Asia, Europe, and Transatlantic Relations.

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