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Politics in Francophone Africa

Victor T. Le Vine
Politics in Francophone Africa
ISBN: 978-1-58826-249-3
ISBN: 978-1-58826-551-7
ISBN: 978-1-62637-119-4
2004/430 pages/LC: 2004001833

"A fresh and sweeping survey of ... the fourteen countries of Francophone Africa. An excellent book."—Mathurin C. Houngnikpo, African Studies Review

"A masterful examination of much neglected Francophone countries of West Africa.... Both erudite and accessible."—Richard Peck, Africa Today

"Magisterial in analytic reach and encyclopedic in coverage.... Highly recommended."—Choice

"An exceptionally well-informed perspective on one of the most intriguing regions of the continent."—James F. Barnes, Appalachian State University

"A masterly analysis.... Le Vine not only provides important insight into the politics of some very understudied countries, but also makes a highly persuasive case for recognizing what is distinctive about the political experiences of those countries with a French colonial background." —Leonardo Villalon, University of Florida


Choice Outstanding Academic Book!

The fourteen countries in west and equatorial Africa that formed the heart of what was once France's African colonial empire?all independent now for more than four decades?still retain French as an official language, remain attached to French culture, and maintain political links with France. Each country, however, has developed its own distinctive brand of politics. Victor Le Vine traces the political evolution of these countries, exploring the elements that have shaped their particular political dynamics while allowing them to remain part of a unique francophone sociopolitical community.

Le Vine's provocative discussion of topics ranging from the colonial context, political culture, and religion to "redemocratization," informal politics, and international relations offers a comprehensive, unique perspective on the workings of this relatively little-known group of states.


Victor T. Le Vine, now deceased, was most recently professor emeritus of political science at Washington University in St. Louis.


  • Introduction.
  • The Physical and Human Contexts of Politics.
  • The Colonial Context.
  • Political Life and Institutions, 1944-1960.
  • SOCIETY AND POLITICS. Ideology and Political Style: The Uneasy Marriage of Thought and Action.
  • Ethnicity, Religion, and National Politics.
  • Experiments in Power, 1958-2003.
  • "Redemocratization."
  • Rulers and Leaders.
  • In the Shadow of the State: The Domain of Nonformal Politics.
  • Francophone Africa in the Global Arena.
  • Basic Political Data on the Fourteen States.