This panel organised by the Journal of Southern African Studies (JSAS) will explore how we understand the state and the accumulation patterns of political elites in Southern Africa. Neopatrimonialism is argued to be a salient feature of politics in the region and recent studies have suggested that this is an increasingly prominent aspect of South African politics as well. While some scholars have argued that neopatrimonialism reflects the ineluctable manner in which ‘Africa works’, other scholars question its usefulness as an explanatory framework for capturing the diversity of politics in Africa. This panel will consider the dynamic patterns of elite accumulation across the Southern African region, as well as the manner in which ruling parties have integrated themselves into regional and global networks of capital accumulation. JSAS has always sought to advance the debates about post-liberation states and the dynamics of nationalist movements in political office. Drawing on these traditions, this panel will encourage participants to explore the significance that elite accumulation bears for our understandings of political power in Southern African states and the capacity of state elites to deliver upon their electoral mandates.

Any interested parties should contact [email protected]