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  • Coming soon
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Expected online publication date: January 2024
  • Print publication year: 2024
  • Online ISBN: 9781009429528

Book description

This book addresses a pertinent issue in comparative politics: how can the discipline do analytical justice to regions of the world that differ historically from the Western experience? For decades the West has served as a baseline against which all other regions are assessed, most recently in studies of democratization. Structural differences between regions have been ignored in favour of explanations based on human agency and institutions. In Theorizing in Comparative Politics, Goran Hyden uses the countries of Africa as an empirical case to demonstrate what a structural approach adds to the comparative study of democracy. Priorities like state-building challenge the effort to shape democratic regimes and call for explanations that recognize the impact of local power dynamics on the prospects for democratic development. Informative and thoughtful, this book sheds light on issues that have been underexplored in the field in recent years.


‘Hyden brings six decades of wide-ranging research, teaching, and reflection on African politics to this new volume. He revisits the first wave of political development research in the 1960s and connects this to the study of democratization in the 1990s and 2000s. Hyden reworks several leitmotifs of his most impactful contributions to the field, questioning the inevitability of democracy in the Western mould and calling for new ways of conceptualizing political development in African countries. A reflective and humane account.’

Catherine Boone - Professor of Comparative Politics, London School of Economics

‘Goran Hyden has offered keen insight into African politics for decades. This retrospective speaks more broadly to the field of comparative politics from a place of deeply informed perspective, providing a welcome reminder of the ongoing need to balance generality with context. Comparativists will be the better for reading it.’

Benjamin Smith - UF Term Professor of Political Science, University of Florida


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