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Coping with institutional uncertainty: Contested local public spaces and power in rural Benin

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  • Pierre-Yves Le Meur

Abstract

Whereas the democratic renewal in Benin is generally seen as a success story, the situation at the local level seems to be much more elusive. Boundaries between state and society, public and private spheres, economy and politics are blurred and the local state often appears unable to "administer the law" and regulate public affairs. Institutional pluralism, contested legitimacies and fragmented local arenas tend to prevail. Nevertheless, the flourishing of the associational sector and the origi-nal processes of production and allocation of public resources highlight individual and collective strategies that aim at dealing with - and decreasing the level of - institutional uncer-tainty. Emerg-ing local public spaces on the basis of the redefinition of social roles and identities might counter-act tendencies that are at work towards the diffusion of violence as a prevailing political resource in rural Benin.

Suggested Citation

  • Pierre-Yves Le Meur, 1999. "Coping with institutional uncertainty: Contested local public spaces and power in rural Benin," Africa Spectrum, Institute of African Affairs, GIGA German Institute of Global and Area Studies, Hamburg, vol. 34(2), pages 187-211.
  • Handle: RePEc:gig:afjour:v:34:y:1999:i:2:p:187-211
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