The moral economy of elections in Africa : democracy, voting, and virtue / Nic Cheeseman, University of Birmingham; Gabrielle Lynch, University of Warwick; Justin Willis, Durham University.

Cheeseman, Nic, 1979- [Browse]
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, 2020.
  • ©2020
xv, 359 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm


Summary note
"Taken together, reciprocity, commonality and preference make for a sense of moral virtue that is rooted in privileged relationships between those who share some form of collective identity. Claims for assistance and support based on this kind of reciprocity are seen not only to have power but also to be legitimate, for patrimonialism is a moral force. As Lonsdale (1992b) has argued of the Kikuyu community in Kenya, leaders are expected to give back to the community, but not because there is any notion of a deserving poor. While 'wealth ineluctably incurred obligations' (1992b: 5), the moral purchase of claims on the wealthy come not from a shared belief in the virtue of redistributing wealth per se, but from the fact that the individuals concerned were embedded within a specific ethnic and moral community and were therefore subject to an established set of reciprocal expectations. At the same time, patrimonial virtue is internally contested. Personal ties, ethnicity and locality do not always pull in the same direction; claims or obligations may arise from shared school experience or involvement in a business organization or a club. These ties may enable electoral work: a candidate may raise campaign funds from former schoolmates (their OBs and OGs, as Ugandans call them) or fellow businessmen (Vokes 2016). But politicians, and voters, may have to weigh the relative significance of different kinds of tie: is it proper to trust, or help, other people from your ethnic group more than people who went to the same school? Your kin, rather than your neighbours? The sense that you must not let someone down - and its corollary, the belief that someone owes you something - is a powerful force, but patrimonial morality is chronically jealous: each patron therefore lives in constant fear of being replaced as a result of not having been attentive enough to their supporters' needs, and voters readily suspect theirMPof favouring immediate kin over the wider ethnic group, or - worst of all - of forgetting voters and becoming part of an exclusive elite. We use the term 'patrimonial' and not the more common 'neopatrimonial' here for three main reasons. First, our aim is to describe different schools of thought and so our focus is on ideas and the conceptions of virtue that they are rooted in, rather than seeking to define or identify"-- Provided by publisher.
Bibliographic references
Includes bibliographical references and index.
  • Towards a moral economy of elections in Africa
  • Elections, states and citizens : a history of the ballot in Ghana, Kenya, and Uganda
  • National exercises : making states and citizens through the ballot
  • The eyes of the world are upon us : the aspirations and limitations of international election observation
  • Creating democrats : civil society and voter education
  • Performing virtue : politicians, leadership, and election campaigns
  • Navigating multiple moralities : popular expectations and experiences of the polls
  • Conclusion : the electoral fallacy revisited.
  • 9781108417235
  • 110841723X (hardcover)
  • 9781108404723 (paperback)
  • 1108404723 (paperback)
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