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  1. Electoral politics and Africa's urban transition : class and ethnicity in Ghana

    Nathan, Noah L., 1986-
    New York : Cambridge University Press, 2019.

    Online Cambridge University Press

  2. The scarce state : inequality and political power in the hinterland

    Nathan, Noah L., 1986-
    Cambridge ; New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, 2023.

    States are often minimally present in the rural periphery. Yet a limited presence does not mean a limited impact. Isolated state actions in regions where the state is otherwise scarce can have outsize, long-lasting effects on society. The Scarce State reframes our understanding of the political economy of hinterlands through a multi-method study of Northern Ghana alongside shadow cases from other world regions. Drawing on a historical natural experiment, the book shows how the contemporary economic and political elite emerged in Ghana's hinterland, linking interventions by an ostensibly weak state to new socio-economic inequality and grassroots efforts to reimagine traditional institutions. The book demonstrates how these state-generated societal changes reshaped access to political power, producing dynastic politics, clientelism, and violence. The Scarce State challenges common claims about state-building and state weakness, provides new evidence on the historical origins of inequality, and reconsiders the mechanisms linking historical institutions to contemporary politics.

    Online Cambridge University Press

  3. Electoral politics and Africa's urban transition : class and ethnicity in Ghana

    Nathan, Noah L., 1986-
    Cambridge, United Kingdom ; New York, NY : Cambridge University Press, 2019.

    Two aspects of contemporary urban life in Africa are often described as sources of political change: the emergence of a large urban middle class and high levels of ethnic diversity and inter-ethnic social contact. Many expected that these factors would help spark a transition away from ethnic competition and clientelism toward more programmatic elections. Focusing on urban Ghana, this book shows that the growing middle class and high levels of ethnic diversity are not having the anticipated political effects. Instead, urban Ghana is stuck in a trap: clientelism and ethnic voting persist in many urban neighborhoods despite changes to the socio-economic characteristics and policy preferences of voters. Through a unique examination of intra-urban variation in patterns of electoral competition, Nathan explains why this trap exists, demonstrates its effects on political behavior, and explores how new democracies like Ghana can move past it--Provided by publisher.Two aspects of contemporary urban life in Africa are often described as sources of political change: the emergence of a large urban middle class and high levels of ethnic diversity and inter-ethnic social contact. Many expected that these factors would help spark a transition away from ethnic competition and clientelism toward more programmatic elections. Focusing on urban Ghana, this book shows that the growing middle class and high levels of ethnic diversity are not having the anticipated political effects. Instead, urban Ghana is stuck in a trap: clientelism and ethnic voting persist in many urban neighborhoods despite changes to the socio-economic characteristics and policy preferences of voters. Through a unique examination of intra-urban variation in patterns of electoral competition, Nathan explains why this trap exists, demonstrates its effects on political behavior, and explores how new democracies like Ghana can move past it.

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