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States and Power in AfricaComparative Lessons in Authority and Control$
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Jeffrey Herbst

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164137

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164137.001.0001

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National Design and the Broadcasting of Power

National Design and the Broadcasting of Power

(p.139) Five National Design and the Broadcasting of Power
States and Power in Africa

Jeffrey Herbst

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the effect of national design on African politics by focusing on the ramifications of the size and shape of nations. It argues that the particular political challenges that African countries face in broadcasting power, combined with the understanding of sovereignty that has developed, cause the calculations regarding national design to be radically different from the conventional wisdom that has developed based on the European experience. In particular, unlike Europe, African conditions privilege nations that are relatively small. Fortunately, the enormous variation in the size of countries across the continent makes Africa a particularly good setting to understand the implications of national design on politics.

Keywords:   national design, African politics, power, sovereignty, Europe

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