Big men and the big pot at the centre: patronage politics and democracy in Nigeria

Hoffmann, Leena Koni (2012). Big men and the big pot at the centre: patronage politics and democracy in Nigeria. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis explores the historical background of patronage politics in Nigeria by examining its evolution during key periods of the country's political development. It investigates how contemporary relations and structures of power are constructed and maintained by exploring a range of political practices, social identities and economic conditions that evidence a continuity and interconnectedness with Nigeria's precolonial and colonial past. By examining five biographies of contemporary political patrons, this thesis shows how politicians and political entrepreneurs legitimate their actions and goals in the political sphere. This process of legitimating political power takes place through a range of strategies that, first, draw on varied social, cultural and historical repertoires; second, are contingent on social settings, political traditions and cultures; and finally, are designed to construct specific social and political meanings.
The central argument presented here is that we cannot fully understand how political patrons and their networks operate unless we understand the varied local contexts and political histories that structure relations of power across Nigeria. This thesis is germane because it investigates how the state penetrates different societal structures as well as how local political networks are integrated into central power.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of History and Cultures
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DT Africa
J Political Science > JF Political institutions (General)


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