The Meanings of Democracy: Anchoring the “D-Word” in Africa

Article
October 2010

Efforts to do comparative research on political attitudes have been complicated by varying understandings of “democracy.” The Afrobarometer is exploring new techniques to overcome this difficulty.

Zimbabwe's Long Agony

Article
October 2008

Once hailed as liberators, Zimbabwe’s ruling party now clings to power through violent repression. How did the country’s founding father become its dictator, and what patterns in his party’s past foretold such an outcome?

Public Opinion and Democratic Legitimacy

Article
April 2008

Do young democracies have to "deliver the goods" economically in order to win political legitimacy in their citizens' eyes? Public opinion data from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and the Arab world suggest some fascinating answers.

The Democracy Barometers (Part I): Formal versus Informal Institutions in Africa

Article
July 2007

Survey data indicate that Africans support democracy and its formal institutions, but also point to the importance of the informal realm, particularly when formal institutions fail to meet popular expectations.

The "Alteration Effect" in Africa

Article
October 2004

Surveys show that Africans' commitment to democracy fades over time, but also that their support can be refreshed by alternations in power via elections.

How People View Democracy: Africans' Surprising Universalism

Article
January 2001

Although Africa is a latecomer to democratization, Africans overwhelmingly support democracy, and their conception of democracy is surprisingly liberal.

Second Elections in Africa

Article
July 1998

The early 1990s saw a wave of competitive multiparty elections in Africa. These contests can be described as "founding" elections in the sense that they marked for various countries a transition from an extended period of authoritarian rule to fledgling democratic government. By the middle of the 1990s, this wave had crested. Although founding elections continued to be conducted in African countries that were latecomers to the political-reform bandwagon, they took place less frequently than earlier in the decade.