Annotated Sources 21 January

  • Bloch, M. 1978. Marriage amongst equals – analysis of marriage ceremony of Merina of Madagascar. Man 13, no. 1: 21-33.
    • Bloch examines the rules, ceremonies, and general dynamics of marriage in Madagascar. Bloch presents Malagasy marriage tradition as an example of an asymmetrical transaction leading hierarchical system and to inequality. While highlighting some interesting dynamics in Malagasy society, marriage traditions are only indirectly related to my study of political institutions. The particulars of marriage in Madagascar may, in fact, create a certain inequality; however, gender inequality has and does exist in many countries both stable and unstable. My research will focus more on specifics unique to the Malagasy system. Though the broader subject that marriage ceremonies are a part of, or the general respect for elders and the oratory tradition may have relevance to my topic when examined across a variety of situations and circomstances.
  • Francken, Nathalie, Bart Minten, and Johan F. M. Swinnen. 2009. Media, monitoring, and capture of public funds: Evidence from Madagascar. World Development 37, no. 1: 242-255.
    • The authors point out that corruption is closely correlated with poverty in Africa. They examine the effectiveness of mass media in monitoring government and thus preventing corruption. Specifically they look at the capture of public funds by a decentralized education system by measuring the portion of allocated funds that reaches its destination. This could prove to be quite relevant to my research in many ways. People’s perceptions of government corruption can have serious consequences in determining support for undemocratic regime change. If access to media can create a situation where the people, through their increased access to information, hold their own leaders accountable, then media could prove to be a key stabilizing factor and the lack of media a key contributor to instability. The authors examine specifically the holding accountable of local officials, but the idea of using mass media to increase the flow of information with the intended effect that more informed people will be more likely to hold their leaders accountable could be applied in a variety of dynamics throughout government.
  • Horning, Nadia Rabesahala. 2008. Strong support for weak performance: Donor competition in Madagascar. African Affairs 107, no. 428: 405-431.
    • Horning argues that the lack of success in achieving development goals is due to the mutual dependence of donors and recipients rather than simply the aid dependence of the recipient country. She examines the situation in Madagascar and shows how the incentives for both parties are to continue the flow of aid money rather than to actually achieve development goals. Were the goals to be achieved, she says, the very reasons that both parties want to give aid would disappear and so would the cash flow. In  this light, the goals are sacrificed to an extent in order maintain the incentive for cash flow thus enabling both parties to get what they want, more aid for the recipient and more influence for the donor. The idea Horning articulates has relevance to the stability of government in Madagascar. Because so much of Madagascar’s development depends on foreign aid, the dynamics of the donor recipient relationships would naturally have a huge bearing on the stability of the government as well as perceptions from within and without the government apparatus.
  • Kus, S. and V. Raharijaona. 1998. Between earth and sky there are only a few large boulders: Sovereignty and monumentality in central Madagascar. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 17, no. 1: 53-79.
    • Kus and Raharijaona articulate how Merina royalty have used the physica, particularly stone, to create an image of sovereignty, placing themselves between earth and sky by physically positioning themselves on top of hills and boulders. This interesting note on traditional, pre-colonial governance is, unfortunately, so far removed from the current political context that it renders itself ineffective as a tool for evaluating the sources of instability in current politics.

~ by Abraham on 21 January 2011.

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