Third Worlds: The Middle East and Africa by Heather Deegan

By Heather Deegan

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Islam, then, in the early post-colonial years did not represent the formidable political directive with which it has latterly become identified. Although, it is true to say, as Bayart reminds us, that Islam never was, and indeed, has not become a monolithic religious movement, with Sufi, Mahdist and militant strands all adding ‘to the number of divergent social strategies’ (ibid. p. 249). ETHNICITY AND ETHNIC GROUPS The term ethnicity has been described as ‘a subjective perception of common origins, historical memories, ties and aspirations’ (Chazan et al.

35). The cleavage within society would be managed and balanced by a civic culture which combined levels of citizen activity with passivity, tradition with modernity. Political parties, interest groups, voluntary associations and a neutral media could contribute to a ‘pluralistic culture based on communication and persuasion, a culture of consensus and diversity, a culture that permitted change but moderated it’ (ibid. p. 6). Central to Almond and Verba’s theme was an under-standing that the ‘democratic model of the participatory state required more than universal suffrage, the political party and the elective legislature’.

Analysts then argued that inequitable economic relations with the capitalist West, new forms of neocolonialism or corrupt individual leaders syphoning resources overseas for their own benefit were the main causes of political debility in the developing world. With the rapidly changing global situation at the end of 1980s, the end of the Cold War and dissolution of the Soviet Union and Communist Bloc and with it Soviet models of development, notions of democratisation and rationalisation simply resurfaced; only this time they appeared in the West and the East.

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