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Patrimonial Logic Of Centrifugal Forces In The Political History Of The Upper Guinea Coast

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Chapter Summary

This chapter develops a patrimonial model of shifting political relations between central and subordinate authority-levels in the history of territorial settlements on the Upper Guinea Coast. The model-drawn from Weberian political sociology-identifies centrifugal tensions in those relations, and provides a heuristic for analyzing regional causal factors shaping political change. The argument highlights the paradox of patrimonial systems, namely the political and ideological mechanisms used to create social integration-political and economic reciprocity between patrons and clients, the charisma of patrimonial rulers, clientalist personal loyalty and support, patriarchical ethos, gerontocracy, etc -are the same mechanisms structuring conflict and instability when a changing political economy provides new resources and opportunities, or constraints. The Weberian patrimonial model provides an important key to solving that paradox.

Keywords: centrifugal forces; patrimonial model; Upper Guinea Coast



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