IDS Bulletin Vol. 19 Nos. 4

The Post-Colonial State: Crisis and Reconstruction

Published on 1 October 1988

Left, right and centre bemoan the failure of the African state. This article challenges their analysis which is not based upon an adequate analysts of the changes in social forces and processes that are involved. It substantiates this assertion by criticising the three most prominent explanations — neo-patrimonial, monopoly and comprador theories — for failing to take the African ruling class seriously, underestimating the foreign stake in state formation and ignoring the growing organisational competence and influence of subordinate classes, It then looks more closely at the way in which these social forces are restructuring the African state system. It concludes by considering the opportunities which the new situation creates for democratic politics.

Cite this publication

Beckman, B. (1988) The Post-Colonial State: Crisis and Reconstruction. IDS Bulletin 19(4): 26-34

Publication details

published by
Institute of Development Studies
Beckman, Björn


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