The State of the Nations is a collection of essays evaluating the political, social, and economic development of independent African states in the 1960s. The effort to employ the notion of constraint as a conceptual tool in analyzing African politics reflects an attempt to move away from evaluative terms such as development and modernization or decay and breakdown. Development, which has an implicit suggestion of social progress and constitutional government, seems inappropriate for the study of the wide array of political phenomena found in African states. Terms such as breakdown and decay—with an equally broad suggestion of disruption, disunity, and instability—seem equally inappropriate.
The vantage point of the authors in this volume is primarily political, but their understanding of African development encompasses the social and economic spheres as well. The constraints that impede achievement of African objectives are varied, and many, of course, are not political. Geographical factors, for example, are supremely relevant in accounting for the availability of natural resources. The principal justification for emphasizing political rather than other constraints is the extent to which political will and political action can stimulate development in spite of other obstacles.
Martin R. Doornbos
R. Cranford Pratt
Richard E. Stryker
Claude E. Welch
M. Crawford Young
This title is part of UC Press's Voices Revived program, which commemorates University of California Press’s mission to seek out and cultivate the brightest minds and give them voice, reach, and impact. Drawing on a backlist dating to 1893, Voices Revived makes high-quality, peer-reviewed scholarship accessible once again using print-on-demand technology. This title was originally published in 1971.