Call for Papers: Special Issue on Kenya’s 2017 elections

By-elections in Kenya
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Are you researching the Kenyan elections of 2017? Are you looking for a place to publish your work? If so, then click through for more information because Nic Cheeseman, Karuti Kanyinga, Gabrielle Lynch, Mutuma Ruteere, and Justin Willis are acting as guest editors for a special issue, and they want to hear from you …


Kenya’s new constitution was enacted in 2010; the referendum which endorsed it showed wide popular support for reforms which were intended to make Kenya a more just and equitable society, and to end the ethnicized politics which had led to repeated violence. The constitution, which created new, elected, county-level governments with significant resources of their own, did not come fully into effect until after the 2013 elections; so Kenya’s 2017 elections will be the first test of the electoral consequences of devolution. This special issue, which will be reviewed by the Journal of Eastern African Studies, will bring together new research from a range of disciplines and perspectives to ask whether, and how, devolution really has changed Kenya’s politics. The collection will therefore be about much more than the country’s 2017 elections: it will analyse the most significant institutional change in Kenya’s post-colonial history; and the ways in which, and extent to which, such institutional change fosters substantive change in political culture, or is simultaneously undermined by the same.

Possible themes to be explored in the collection include: the role of governors under the new constitution; the rise of very localized patronage networks around the members of county assemblies; the extent to which the new constitution has succeeded in its apparent aim of institutionalizing political parties and ensuring that they have a presence across the country; how elections reveal the effects of devolution on Kenya’s security agencies; and the workings of the judiciary under the new constitution. The collection will then be framed by an introductory essay in which the editors will draw on their own research, including comparative lessons from elsewhere in Africa. Please note that this means that we are unlikely to be able to accommodate general papers that provide an overview of the election, as these will duplicate the introduction. We are therefore looking for research papers that provide a more in depth analysis of a specific issue.

Those interested in contributing should send a 200 to 300 word abstract to Gabrielle Lynch ( two weeks after the presidential inauguration, and expect to submit full papers of up to 10,000 words including endnotes and a bibliography by early December (with exact dates to be advertised dependent on the final electoral schedule). Please note that all papers will be peer reviewed, and that the selection process for which articles are published will be made by the editors of the Journal of Eastern African Studies. It is unlikely that every paper proposed can be accommodated. For instructions to authors see:




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