“Neopatrimonialism” and Agricultural Development In Africa: Contributions and Limitations of A Contested Concept
The “neopatrimonial” character of African states has increasingly been invoked to explain the politics of agricultural stagnation across the continent. This article summarizes the literature on neopatrimonialism, reviewing how analysts have applied the concept in studies of food and agricultural policies in Africa. It then draws out some of the key contributions of such an approach, and describes limitations, both methodological and substantive. Finally, it asks how and why the concept has been deployed, and recommends greater circumspection, research, and refinement.