Religious Ideas and Institutions: Transitions to Democracy in Africa


E J Keller
University of South Africa


In this latest phase of political transitions in Africa, analysts rarely consider the relationship between religion and politics. This book seeks to address this need. It argues among other things that for democracy to be consolidated, political leaders must make the right institutional choices, choices that structure the incentives of their constituents as well as their own away from antagonistic forms of politics or religious extremism. What impact do African contemporary religious organizations and elites have on their societies in terms of intergroup reciprocity and political bargaining? The primary objective of this volume is to analyse how such organizations respond to the political signs and gestures of other groups in a like-minded manner and the nature and effects of their negotiations with the state and other interests over contested matters. The authors of this selection of papers hypothesize that Africa’s religious organizations can prove critical in the way their elites make demands on the state and in the way they help to shape the structure of intergroup relations in constructive or destructive directions. They consider the roles of both secular and religious elites and institutions in creating a political climate that enables elites to consolidate democracy.

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Cover for Religious Ideas and Institutions: Transitions to Democracy in Africa
May 30, 2011