Post Colonial Nation building in Africa

Essay by lcpvideomakerUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, March 2005

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Among the many political and social changes that took place ensuing World War II the colonial states declared their independence. As Samuel Huntington describes in "Political Order in Changing Societies" these communities faced many hardships and are still undergoing the difficulties associated with gaining independence. Tension becomes increasingly severe with the topics of ethnicity, language, region, tradition, and religion. Turmoil regarding these issues ultimately undermines political stability and the ability of new states to effectively govern citizens through a legitimate political institution. The fundamental challenges that new states face are extensive social change accompanied by rapid modernization; especially when insufficient concern is given for establishing firm political institutions.

The post-colonial states of Asia, Africa, and Latin America are generally complex, heterogeneous societies and therefore rely heavily on a functional political institution. In the preliminary stages of nation-building, social forces play a pivotal role. Social forces include ethnic, religious, economic, and regional groups.

Ideally Huntington's political institution governs the problems that can arise from the clashing of interests among these social groups. An example where social forces can be at odds is illustrated through Israel and its Arab neighbor. In this instance religious groups are fighting a battle over the holy land. There are also numerous ethnic clashes including the civil war in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In The Integrative Revolution Clifford Geertz feels "As the new states solidify politically, such disputes may well grow both more frequent and more intense" (Geertz pg. 116). In many post-colonial instances where independence is juvenile, power seems to be there for the taking. To determine how their state will be run and where the power resides conflict and violence among social groups erupts in the form of civil wars and coup de etats. If not controlled, social forces will...