1st Edition

Personalist Rule in Africa and Other World Regions

By Jeroen J.J. Van den Bosch Copyright 2021
    348 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    348 Pages 19 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book presents an innovative model linking insights from democratization, development and conflict studies to explain personalist behavior and their violent transitions.

    Based on multiple case studies from Sub Saharan Africa, the author maps and predicts regime transitions, presenting examples of how states can avoid such vicious circles of conflict and tyranny. By integrating decades of specialist literature from various subfields of political science, the book models personalist behavior, its impact on the states they govern, and their future transitions. By systematizing regime behavior (coup-proofing, gatekeeping, repression and hoarding), the model identifies the mechanics on how personalist regimes establish vicious circles of personalism and explains how exactly they end up again in authoritarianism or in new personalist tyrannies after their demise, and so seldom transition to democracy.

    This book will be of key interest to scholars and students of African politics, democratization and democratic consolidation, authoritarian rule and more broadly to political science, comparative politics, area studies, political leadership, peace and conflict studies and development studies.


    1. A Throne of Bayonets: What is Personalism and Why Does it Matter? 

    2. Fear and Greed: Four Pillars of Personalist Regime Behavior 

    3. Framing The Vicious Circle: Modeling Transitions from Personalist Rule 

    4. Divide and Rule: Testing the Relational Aspects of the Model 

    5. Resource Curses: Testing the Functional Aspects of the Model 

    6. Votes and Violence: Testing the Dysfunctional Aspects of the Model

    7. Findings on the Impact of Personalist Rule: Comparing African Cases and Structuring Causal Factors

    8. Findings on Vicious Circles: Comparing Post-Personalist Transitions 

    9. Lessons From Africa: Personalism in Comparative Perspective

    Summary and Final Thoughts


    Jeroen J.J. Van den Bosch is an independent researcher working on dictatorships and is affiliated with Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań, Poland, as a project coordinator.