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Beyond programmatic versus patrimonial politics: contested conceptions of legitimate distribution in Nigeria

Roelofs, Portia (2019) Beyond programmatic versus patrimonial politics: contested conceptions of legitimate distribution in Nigeria. Journal of Modern African Studies. ISSN 0022-278X (In Press)

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Abstract

This article argues against the long-standing instinct to read African politics in terms of programmatic versus patrimonial politics. Unlike the assumptions of much of the current quantitative literature, there are substantive political struggles that go beyond ‘public goods good, private goods bad’. Scholarly framings serve to obscure the essentially contested nature of what counts as legitimate distribution. This article uses the recent political history of the Lagos Model in southwest Nigeria to show that the idea of patrimonial versus programmatic politics does not stand outside of politics but is in itself a politically constructed distinction. In adopting it a priori as scholars we commit ourselves to seeing the world through the eyes of a specific, often elite, constituency that makes up only part of the rich landscape of normative political contestation in Nigeria. Finally, the example of a large-scale empowerment scheme in Oyo State shows the complexity of politicians’ attempts to render distribution legitimate to different audiences at once.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2019 Cambridge University Press
Divisions: International Development
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 15 Mar 2019 09:06
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2019 23:11
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/100250

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