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Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa, 3rd Edition

Naomi Chazan, Peter Lewis, Robert A. Mortimer, Donald Rothchild, and Stephen John Stedman
ISBN: 978-1-55587-679-1
1999/548 pages/LC: 99-24154

Praise for the previous editions:

"Required reading for any course on politics and society of the African continent." —West Africa

"Will help students to look critically at the analytical perspectives we use to understand the Third World and Africa in particular. . . . At the cutting edge of current African research."—Studies in Comparative International Development

"The best available textbook on the subject...this volume stands unchallenged in its comprehensiveness and sophistication."—Choice

 "As a way of grasping in one volume the political complexities and diversities of 54 states over the last 40 years, this is where to begin."—Bruce Baker, Commonwealth & Comparative Politics


Recognized as the textbook on African politics, as well as an excellent resource for scholars, Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa analyzes the complexities and diversities of the African continent since independence.

The authors provide a basic knowledge of political events; political structures, processes, problems, and trends; political economy; and international relations. Clearly organized charts offer easy access to current political, economic, and social data. This edition includes entirely new chapters on political economy and South Africa, as well as revised discussions of civil society, democratic transitions, decentralization, structural adjustment, and Africa in the world economy.

Broadly encompassing and challenging, the book is a major contribution to our understanding of the multiple forces at work on the continent.


Naomi Chazan is professor emeritus of political science at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Peter Lewis is director of the African Studies Program at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. Robert A. Mortimer is professor of political science at Haverford College. The late Donald Rothchild was professor of political science at the University of California, Davis. Stephen John Stedman is senior research fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation, Stanford University.


  • The Diversity of African Politics: Trends and Approaches.
  • State Institutions and the Organization of the Public Arena.
  • Social Groupings.
  • Ethnicity, Class, and the State.
  • Regimes in Independent Africa.
  • High Politics: The Procedures and Practices of Government.
  • Deep Politics: Political Response, Protest, and Conflict.
  • Political Transitions and Patterns of Change.
  • Coping with Transformation: Approaches to Development.
  • Coping with Change: Crisis and Attempted Reform.
  • Inter-African Relations.
  • Africa in World Politics.
  • South Africa: The Possibilities and Limits of Transforming State and Society.
  • Africa in the 21st Century.
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