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Party organisations in Africa: appropriating and challenging global political practices

Political parties as organisations are expected to link societies to the state. The colonial and post-colonial context in which they emerged in Africa as formal organisations and their relation to the ambiguous state complicated their development, despite their various roots, including independence movements and intellectual clubs. Critics have long highlighted the particularistic and personalist perils of political party organisations. However, political parties persist and many are not fairly characterized as weak organisations. Alternative models seem to have a hard time emerging.

Thus, what can it mean to decolonize political party organisations in Africa? What is the shape and role of political party organizations in their respective polities today? How and why do party organisations persist and compete for political power in the face of social, political, security, and economic challenges, while liberal democracy is increasingly challenged? We invite contributions that address questions such as: How do party organisations appropriate or challenge conventional organisational models? Under what conditions they succeed in institutionalising their organisation, i.e. become ‘strong(er)’ organisations? What role party organisations play in aggregating political interests from below? If the way of organising parties has an effect on the perception and legitimation of democratic institutions? Or, if the model of party organisations is doomed to fail due to their historical entanglement with the colonial state? Case studies and comparative analyses within and across cases and focus on subnational entities are equally welcome.

Please, submit your 200-250 words abstract to alexander.stroh@uni-bayreuth.de by 10 March 2024. All related questions can be directed to the same email address.