Civil Society, Conflict Resolution, and Democracy in Nigeria
"This is a well-written, carefully researched study of civil society,
democratization, and conflict in Africa’s most populous state. Kew
examines a significant case and offers an original addition to our
conception of democratic development."—Peter M. Lewis, associate professor and director of the African Studies Program, Johns Hopkins University
Darren Kew is associate professor and chair of the Department of Conflict Resolution, Human
Security, and Global Governance, and executive director of the Center for Peace, Democracy,
and Development at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
Book Description »[Close »]
African nations have watched the recent civic dramas of the Arab Spring and
Occupy Wall Street asking if they too will see similar civil society actions in their
own countries. Nigeria—Africa’s most populous nation—has long enjoyed one
of the continent’s most vibrant civil society spheres, which has been instrumental
in political change. Initially viewed as contributing to democracy’s development,
however, civil society groups have come under increased scrutiny by
scholars and policymakers. Do some civil society groups promote democracy
more effectively than others? And if so, which ones, and why?
By examining the structure, organizational cultures, and methods of more
than one hundred Nigerian civil society groups, Kew finds that the groups that
best promote democratic development externally are themselves internally democratic.
Specifically, the internally democratic civil society groups build more
sustainable coalitions to resist authoritarian rule; support and influence political
parties more effectively; articulate and promote public interests in a more negotiable
fashion; and, most importantly, inculcate democratic norms in their members,
which in turn has important democratizing impacts on national political
cultures and institutions. Further, internally democratic groups are better able to
resolve ethnic differences and ethnic-based tensions than their undemocratically
This book is a deeply comprehensive account of Nigerian civil society
groups in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. Kew blends democratic
theory with conflict resolution methodologies to argue that the manner in
which groups—and states—manage internal conflicts provides an important
gauge as to how democratic their political cultures are. The conclusions will allow
donors and policymakers to make strategic decisions in their efforts to build
a democratic society in Nigeria and other regions.
View other series books on Syracuse Studies on Peace and Conflict Resolution.
6 x 9, 456 pages, 3 black-and-white illustrations, appendix, notes, bibliography, index