Impediments to the Growth of Political Capacity: the Case of Japan, Yugoslavia, Mexico and Nigeria

  • A. H. Somjee


Historically speaking, all societies, developed or developing, have experienced peculiar problems which have acted as impediments to the growth of their citizens’ political capacity. Such impediments have stemmed from, among other things, the nature of social organisation, economic structure, the exploitative role of the political elite, the ineffective role of party organisations, and persistence of the submissive attitude to political authority. More specifically, such impediments have also come, as we shall see in detail, from the persistence of traditional notions of community and harmony (Japan), political ideology and the peculiar role assigned to political party and bureaucracy (Yugoslavia), political institutions capable of being manipulated by a section of the elite (Mexico), and the inability of party organisations to build secular collectivities across the ethnic divide (Nigeria). Nevertheless, the awareness of such impediments, coupled with the cumulative political experience of the harm done by them, may in the long run persuade the people to explore the possibility of overcoming them. Such impediments, and the necessary political effort to overcome them, may eventually enhance the political capacity of the people who are engaged in such an exercise. In this chapter we shall examine in detail the peculiarities of such impediments to the growth of political capacity in Japan, Yugoslavia, Mexico and Nigeria.


Political Institution Political Elite Democratic Process Liberal Democratic Party Political Society 
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  1. 1.
    With the exception of the case of over 2 per cent ‘outcasts’ or ‘untouchables’, called eta, or burakumin, who in the 1920s aspired to social mobility by allowing the socialists to champion their cause, Japanese ethnic differences have not been expressed by political cleavages. See in this connection George de Vos and Hiroshi Wagatsuma, Japan’s Invisible Race: Caste in Culture and Personality, (Berkeley, Calif.: California University Press, 1966).Google Scholar
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© A. H. Somjee 1982

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  • A. H. Somjee

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