The Tortuous Trajectories of Democracy and the Persistence of Authoritarianism in Africa



Landry Signé, CDDRL

Date and Time

June 7, 2012 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM



Open to the public.

RSVP required by 5PM June 06.


Reuben W. Hills Conference Room


The "spirit of democracy" has recently been undermined in several African countries as authoritarian methods have been the preferred approach. In countries such as Kenya, Zimbabwe, Cote d'Ivoire, Niger and Gabon political change has come through the following means; military interventions ousting former presidents clinging to power after their terms; violently repressed popular unrests leading to power-sharing solutions, or former presidents being replaced by their sons. In few countries such as Guinea, free elections were organized after several decades of dictatorship.   

In this seminar, CDDRL Post-Doctoral Fellow Landry Signé will examine what makes certain countries adopt and consolidate liberal or electoral democracies when others stay authoritarian - whether competitive, hegemonic or politically closed. Signé will analyze the transformations of political regimes and democratization in the 48 Sub-Saharan African countries over the two last decades contrasting various political trajectories, comparing results between successful and failed countries, and exploring the conditions that create, maintain and sustain democracies. 

Speaker Bio:  

Landry Signé is a recipient of the 2011-2013 Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship Award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada hosted by the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at Stanford University. He is working on a project entitled “The Efficiency of the Political Responses to the Global Financial and Economic Crisis in Africa: Does the Political Regime and Economic Structure Matter?”. He completed his PhD in Political Science (2010), with the Award of Excellence, at the University of Montreal, and has been bestowed the Award for Best International PhD Dissertation of 2011 by the Center for International Studies and Research (CÉRIUM). His dissertation is entitled “Political Innovation: The Role of the International, Regional and National Actors in the Economic Development of Africa”. 

Prior to joining the CDDRL, Dr. Signé was a visiting scholar at the Stanford Center on African Studies, lecturer on Emerging African Markets: Strategies, Investments and Government Affairs at the Stanford Continuing Studies, founding president of a Canadian corporation specialized in public affairs and business development, part-time professor and lecturer in political science at Ottawa University and the University of Montreal, administrator at the United Nations Association of Canada-Greater Montréal, and president of the Political Commission of Montreal-CJ. He has worked or interned at the United Nations Department of Political Affairs, the Senate of France, the National Assembly of Cameroon, and the French Distributor, Casino Group. He studied Political Science, International Relations, Communication and Business at the University of Montreal, Lyon 3 University, Sciences Po Paris, Sandar Institute, Stanford Continuing Studies, and McGill University.

Share this Event