Substantive Democracy

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Unpacking Habib’s quote
“Scholarly studies that are partial to visions of substantive democracy and inclusive development have been divided between a nationalist historiography on the one hand and that emanating from a progressively liberal or social justice ideological orientation on the other hand. The battle between these studies is about how to interpret, understand and address societal conflicts”. – Adam Habib
In order to understand what Habib means by this quote the key concepts and words within the quote need to be explained and analysed. The first concept that should be explained is ‘substantive democracy’. According to (Meszaros, 2004) substantive democracy is defined as a form of democracy that functions in the interests of the public.
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The article begins by providing two strong quotes from both the liberal and procedural view and substantive view. According to (Bratton & Cho, 2006) like the other parts of the world, Africans view democracy in liberal and procedural terms. In Africans definition of democracy, the protection of civil liberties is highly regarded across time and space.
(Ake, 1993) wrote that if democracy goes in the route of least resistance to liberalism from the West, then African countries will only achieve democracy of isolation and detachment from the rest of the world. In order for democracy to evolve in manners that will enhance its meaning, the democracy process must be moulded by the sole reality that ordinary citizens of Africa must be at issue of democratic participation (Ake,
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According to their side of the argument, they believe that economic and social rights are crucial to the success of democracy. The perspective of people such as Ake, say that if systems that are defined locally are put in motion in the African continent, then they will by default diverge from the understandings of western liberals (Elke Zuern, 2009)
Engaging with Afrobarometer’s findings
(Elke Zuern, 2009) states that one element that constantly lacks in democracy academic discussions, more so in poverty-stricken countries where data is all the more difficult to get are local viewpoints on democratisation. Afrobarometer is a project that was created to conduct surveys on the attitudes of ordinary Africans across sub-Saharan liberated countries. The article argues that the argument provided by Ake is similar to the data collected by the Afrobarometer and shows that the Afrobarometer data supports the alternative argument provided by Ake (Elke Zuern, 2009)
The article states that after conducting the Afrobarometer survey, some authors believed that the data was a clear indication that Africans view democracy as a procedural by referring to voting in elections, inclusive participation in decision-making and the protection of civil
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