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Uses and Abuses of Political Power: A Case Study of Continuity and Change in the Politics of Ghana

Summary of Book by Maxwell Owusu, 2015
Published by The University of Chicago Press (Chicago, United States)

The author, a Ghanaian anthropologist, examines in detail the social, economic and political development of the Agona people and the commercial town of Swedru in south-central Ghana from the late seventeenth century until the downfall of Nkrumah’s regime in 1966. He critically re-examines major theories, models and empirical claims in the literature on political modernization, African nationalism, and Ghanaian politics in light of case study evidence. His central thesis is that African political behaviour since postcolonial times should be viewed primarily as a function of economic relations and motivations. He insists that only a clear recognition of the historic “primacy of economic interests” will allow for a “better and more realistic understanding” of the nature of political legitimacy, instability, integration, and conflict in Ghana (as elsewhere in black Africa).