Democracy in the South

Participation, the State and the People

image of Democracy in the South

Traditionally, studies on democracy have focused on the orthodox so-called Northern models of democratic governance, and within this framework, the extent to which Southern models are considered democratic. Democracy in the South is the first truly international collaboration that draws attention to the complex problems of democratic consolidation across the majority world. Nine case studies, three each from Africa, Latin America and Asia, shed light on the contemporary challenges faced by democratizing countries, mostly from the perspective of emerging theorists working in their home countries.



Democracy, pluralism and nation-building: The Nigerian case

This chapter examines democracy in a multi-ethnic society where affinity and loyalty to the micro group are very strong. But given the nature of democracy as a system of rule by laws that protect the rights of citizens and limit the power of the government, creating a strong nation-state in a heterogeneous society may prove difficult. This is the case in Nigeria, when democracy demands that the majority should have their way while the minority have their say. Nations confronted with the problem of diversity often devise mechanisms to accommodate the varying interests of the various ethnic groups, with the aim of fostering unity and sustaining the continued existence of the country. But the question to be answered in this section is the extent or degree that provisions and practices meant to accommodate diversity in a heterogeneous polity conform to the principles of democracy. These issues cannot be effectively discussed as they relate to Nigeria without first taking an excursion into the history of the country and its experimentation with democracy.


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