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Approaches to Study of African Political Systems-Peeling Off the Wrapping
This paper attempts to identify and describe the various possible approaches to the study of African political systems. Arguing that neither a purely formalist approach (in terms of written laws and constitutions) nor a structuralist approach (based on the proclaimed ideologies) can serve as reliable guides to probe the direction and functioning of the political systems currently prevailing in Africa, the paper considers three alternative approaches: the personal-psychological, the anthropological and the Marxist or neoMarxist. It finds that a class analysis of African political process helps one to cross the barriers earlier raised by the development school. As most African economies function as sub- ordinate units in the network of international finance and market systems, the dynamics of inter-relationship between the material base and the political superstructure can only be analysed in the context of the impact of external forces on Africa's internal developments.
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