pp. 575-577

Civil Society, Conflict Resolution, and Democracy in Nigeria, Darren Kew

Reviewed by A. Carl Levan





A few causal drivers of democratization have dominated the literature: slow-moving processes associated with modernization, elite pacts such as those in Chile or Spain, and, more recently, international drivers. Evidence for “change from below” linked to protest in Africa in the work of Michael Bratton and Nicholas van de Walle (Democratic Experiments in Africa: Regime Transitions in Comparative Perspective [New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997]). Despite dismal setbacks in the Middle East since the Arab Spring, scholars such as Erica Chenoweth and Maria J. Stephan (Why Civil Resistance Works: The Strategic Logic of Nonviolent Conflict [New York: Columbia University Press, 2011]) have revived some of this logic, offering evidence that “civil resistance” as a tactic is effective.

In his thoughtful new book on Nigeria, Darren Kew advances the study of democratization by keeping the focus on civil society, as in these other works. He breaks new ground by delving into the internal dynamics, governance cultures, and structures of civil society organizations (CSOs). Organizations with more democratic structures promote democratization because they facilitate a binding social contract with their members, while those with democratic cultures spread the “right” values. Kew explains in later chapters how some ef

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