Disturbing the peace: African warfare, political inversion and the universality of the democratic peace thesis

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Abstract

This article tests the applicability of the democratic peace thesis to sub-Saharan African states by examining a 'political inversion' thesis. This suggests that the domestic political framework of African states compels their leaders to engage in international conflict, contrary to what the democratic peace thesiests: namely, politically open African states are more likely to fight each other. This conclusion raises the issue of the universality of the democratic peace thesis; therefore, the extent to which the democratic peace is evident across other regions of the world is examined. Empirical analyses of state dyads 1950-2001 demonstrate that politically open African states are more likely to fight each other and, moreover, the democratic peace does not hold in any region outside the West. These findings support the political inversion thesis of African conflicts and challenge the suggestion that the spread of democracy will occasion international peace throughout the world.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-58
Number of pages34
JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
Volume39
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2009

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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