Summary of How Protest Is Redefining Democracy Around the World

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Free and fair elections aren’t the only indicators of a thriving democracy, says political scientist Zachariah Mampilly. As North Americans and Western Europeans now face many of the challenges that Africans have known for decades, people of these regions can learn three valuable lessons from African “protest democracy,” avers Mampilly. getAbstract recommends that you listen to Mampilly’s inspiring, powerful talk.  

About the Speaker

Zachariah Mampilly is a professor of political science and Africana studies at Vassar. He co-wrote Africa Uprising.



Scholars and global organizations typically think that democracy’s defining features are its competitive, periodic elections. Yet democracy isn’t just for the elite politicians on the ballot. Moreover, democracy is a daily engagement. For Africans, protests have become an integral part of democracy. Increasingly, young Africans are eschewing violent rebellion to march peacefully in the streets against their respective governments, whether they be monarchies, dictatorships, military regimes or ineffective democracies. These activists have created “protest democracy.”

A wave of popular protest helped decolonize Africa in the 1940s and 1950s. A...

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