Big Men and Ballots: The Effects of Traditional Leaders on Elections and Distributive Politics in Zambia


Baldwin, Kate. 2010. "Big Men and Ballots: The Effects of Traditional Leaders on Elections and Distributive Politics in Zambia." PhD. Diss. Columbia University. 

Author: Kate Baldwin


This dissertation examines an inconsistency in the literature on African politics. Most scholars accept that African politics is "patrimonial"; politicians stay in power by building relationships with local big men, such as traditional chiefs, who can mobilize support for them. However, the vast majority of governments in Africa are now elected, and when voters choose their government in the secrecy of the ballot box, it is not clear that traditional chiefs can influence how they vote. An "institutionalist" perspective would suggest that chiefs' political views are irrelevant once the secret ballot has been instituted.

Topics: Gender, Men, Gendered Power Relations, Patriarchy, Governance, Elections, Tribe Regions: Africa, Southern Africa Countries: Zambia

Year: 2010

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