The Space and Role of Political Science in the Evolving Democratic Transformation in Africa

Researcher: Liisa Laakso
Project started: 2019

Today universities are under an increasing pressure to show the relevance and societal impact of their research and education for the society. Political science, whose roots as an academic discipline are connected to empirical research of liberal multi-party political systems involving also critical thinking, is particularly interesting in this regard, and even more so in societies experiencing political transitions like the ones on the African continent. Political science can have an impact for the legitimacy, functioning and consolidation of the political systems.

The project will first analyze the profile of political science research and education in African political systems with different levels of democratization: What is studied and taught about political systems in Africa? The resources of political science? The employment of political science graduates? Secondly the project will look at the visibility of political science in Africa: Do political scientists feature in public discussion and media? Do they contribute to preparatory work on electoral laws, constitutional changes etc.? Do they cooperate with political parties?

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