Books on Democracy, Electoral Politics launched

Two books, ‘Electoral Politics and Africa’s Urban Transition: Class and Ethnicity in Ghana’ and ‘Democracy in Ghana: Everyday Politics in Urban Africa’, authored by Professor Noah Nathan and Professor Jeffrey Paller respectively, have been launched in Accra.

They were based on research conducted by the authors in the country, hosted and supported by Centre for Democratic Development-Ghana (CDD-Ghana).

Prof. Nathan’s book was based on a study conducted in the country from 2013 to 2014 with Prof. Paller, carrying studies in urban slums such as Ashaiman and Old Fadama, both in the Greater Accra Region.

In his book, Prof. Nathan, who is an Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan, US, explained why vast changes in demographic and class distribution that accompany urbanisation had not produced programmatic policies or improved resource allocation. He throws sand in the gears of standard account linking growth of middle class to shift from clientelistic to programmatic politics.

Prof. Paller, who is an Assistant Professor of Politics at University of San Francisco, US, developed a framework for the study of democracy and development that emphasised informal institutions and the politics of belonging in context of daily life, in contrast to formal and electoral paradigms that dominate social sciences.

Based on 15 months of field research including; ethnography, observation, focus group interviews and original quantitative survey analysis in Ghana, Prof. Paller’s book intervened in major debates about public goods provision, civic participation, ethnic politics and democratisation and future of urban sustainability in rapid changing world.

Dr Franklin Oduro, Deputy Executive Director of CDD-Ghana, who formally launched the books, said the Centre valued research and as such opened its doors to collaborate with local and international scholars, who were interested in democratic development.

He said they had students from abroad and also African countries, who specifically were affiliated to the Centre with their research work.

Dr Oduro recounted that the key message the Centre constantly highlighted was the need for researchers to come back and share their findings with the citizenry and that the findings could contribute in deepening democratic development.

Dr Amos Anyimadu, a Political Scientist, who reviewed the two books, also commended the two Professors for the study they undertook saying, “When people talked about ideological expressions, they argue as if so far as people are able to think about it, it will happen, which is untrue.” –GNA

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