From Conflict to Consensus? Elite Integration and Democracy in Ghana

in Comparative Sociology
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The paper takes as its starting point Higley and Burton’s (2006) contention that no liberal democracy has ever evolved without a ‘consensually united elite’ which is structurally integrated and shares some general values. The fact that the evolution of a consensually united elite is a very rare event limits the prospects for the worldwide spread of liberal democracy. Ghana, however, could represent one of these rare cases. This paper looks at if and how an elite consensus on the “rules of the game” has emerged in the country and what the potential threats to this consensus are. It pays special attention to the social composition of elites and their patterns of interaction between elites (horizontal integration) as well as the relationship between elites and the wider population (vertical integration).

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According to Huntington (1991), a democracy is consolidated if two peaceful turnovers have occurred after the founding elections.

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