Entering one-party dominant democracy in South Africa : political institutions, social demographies and party strategies, 1994-1999
Author(s)Piombo, Jessica R., 1973-
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
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This study explains the construction and maintenance of a one-party dominant democratic political system in South Africa between 1994 and 1999. Against conventional explanations that rely on historical conditions and voting patterns driven by ascriptive identities, this study offers an explanation of events that focuses on the role of political institutions and social demographics in structuring the incentives that shape strategic choices made by political parties. The process by which the ruling African National Congress (ANC) entrenched its dominant position between 1994 and 1999 was attributable to a number of factors. The analysis found that the ANC actively manipulated political cleavages to perpetuate its hegemonic position in South African politics, rather than simply resting on its status as the liberation party or the ethnic loyalties of its supporters. The process of establishing and maintaining dominance, for the ANC, involved maintaining strategic alliances with labor and leftists, manipulating social and political discourse to reinforce the unity of the political community of non-Whites on whose electoral support the party relied; and finally, manipulating state institutions to help the party to reward supporters and maintain the focus of power on the national level. Through each of these strategies, the ANC worked to maintain a political black-White cleavage, perpetuating electoral patterns that promoted the continued dominance of the party. On the other hand, the major opposition parties in South Africa inadvertently contributed to the dominance of the ANC by failing to activate social divisions and potential political cleavages within the ANC's support base.(cont.) In response to political institutions that focused political competition on the national sphere and the structure of social cleavages that worked against the cultivation of small ethnic support bases, most parties pursued mobilization strategies capable of providing easily mobilizable, large bases to deliver short-term electoral gains. In pursuing these strategies, the opposition rejected mobilizing smaller groups within the ANC's support base that had long-term potential to fracture the support base of the ANC. In developing these strategies, the each of the parties based their strategies on complex relationship between race, class and political affiliation.
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Political Science, 2003.Includes bibliographical references (p. -377). Includes bibliographical references (p. ).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Political Science.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology