Source Document Analysis #1

Richar R. Marcus and Paul Razafindrakoto 2003
Author’s name (last, first) Publication date
Madagascar: A New Democracy?
Current History Vol. 102, Issue 664, Pages 215-221
Book series OR Journal Location and publisher OR volume, issue, pages

1.  What is the source’s stated purpose (the argument or thesis)?

Marcus and Razafindrakoto argue that, despite the dramatic change in government during the 2001 presidential election, the government of Madagascar did not change radically.

2.  What evidence does the author provide to support his or her main argument? How is the author attempting to logically prove his or her thesis and how does this affect the organization of the document?

The authors describe the process of events and highlight how much these events encouraged and fostered political participation, but also line out a long list of actions on the part of the new president showing how he , almost immediately, sought to consolidate power in similar ways to the old president. According to the authors, the new president used his position as a successful business man and politician to supplant most if not all of the ancient regime with new people, proven by past positions, to be loyal to himself. And these, he appointed to positions throughout the government from the courts to the legislative body to the executive branches.

3.  Who is the audience? What does the author assume the audience already knows about the topic?

The authors write to the student of democratic development but probably more specifically to those over anxious to declare the election of 2002 in Madagascar as a sure sign of democratic progress.

4.  Describe the author’s methods (i.e. how does the author know what he or she knows)?  In your opinion were they appropriate why or why not?

In this article the authors refer only to observations and briefly to interviews. The lack of methods described (there may or may not have been scientific work done in preparation to writing this article) indicates a less legitimate argument. However, considering how recent the events were at the time of writing the article it may have been impractical to launch an indepth study rather than quickly publish an initial argument based on knowledge gleaned from years of research in other areas while the events were still fresh.

5.  To what other sources (theorist, researchers, artists) does the author refer? Explain the specific ideas the author draws upon from these other sources to support his or her own argument (the theoretical framework).

The authors only site one source:  Charles Tilly, From Mobilization to Revolution (New York: Random House, 1978), p. 69. This is rather a side note defining what it means to become an active participant in public life.

6.  What are the connections between this source and your project? How useful or applicable is this source’s approach to your own project? How is yours new and different?

This article provides a useful perspective on the 2002 elections which can then be compared with the 2009 change of government. Having lived in Madagascar then and heavily studied the recent political events, this article provides a fascinating context that can now be evaluated with hindsight and compared to recent events. The article argues that the new regime was just as fragile as the old one, just different, which was what the people wanted but could lead to repeat events. I will be studying factors that lead to political instability, ruling out ethnicity and looking for more probable variables. So this article is very useful in pointing out the similarities of the regime up to 2002 and since. I can build on this and examine whether or not those similarities persisted and if they still persist in the new regime as of 2009.

~ by Abraham on 18 January 2011.

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