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Fighting for Democracy: Popular Organizations and Postapartheid Government in South Africa

  • Elke K. Zuern


Elite, top-down models of democratic transition commonly miss key popular challenges and opportunities for institutionalizing stable, representative regimes. Civil society theorists often mistakenly assume that civil society organizations will support the creation and strengthening of a democratic regime. This article argues that in order to understand the process of regime change, we must look at both macro- and micro-level institutions and practices, as well as at the practical and ideological struggles over democracy that will define the regime. In South Africa, this struggle is seen most clearly in the interactions between popular organizations, such as the civics, and the African National Congress (ANC). How popular organizations make demands and how these demands are met will determine not only the form of the new regime, but also the stability of the most basic rights associated with democracy.


Les modèles de transition démocratique prévus par les élites au plus haut niveau pour le bénéfice du peuple ont coutume de manquer les défis populaires et les opportunitiés clé nécessaires à l'institutionnalisation de régimes stables et représentatifs. Les théoriciens de la société civile supposent souvent à tort que les organisations de sociétés civiles soutiendront la création et la consolidation d'un régime démocratique. Cet article veut montrer que pour comprendre le processus de changement de régime, il faut regarder les institutions et les pratiques à la fois au macro- et au microniveau, ainsi que les luttes d'ordre pratique et idéologique pour la démocratie qui définiront le régime. En Afrique du Sud, on peut percevoir cette lutte le plus clairement en observant les interactions entre les organisations populaires telles que les Civics, et l'ANC, le Congrès National Africain. La manière dont les organisations populaires formulent leurs demandes et la manière dont l'ANC répond à ces demandes déterminera non seulement la forme du nouveau régime, mais aussi la stabilité des droits les plus fondamentaux associés au concept de démocratie.



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Fighting for Democracy: Popular Organizations and Postapartheid Government in South Africa

  • Elke K. Zuern


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