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Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics : Framing the Race in South Africa: The Political Origins of Racial Census Elections - Karen E. Ferree

Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

Framing the Race in South Africa: The Political Origins of Racial Census Elections


Published: 15th November 2010
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Post-apartheid South African elections have borne an unmistakable racial imprint: Africans vote for one set of parties, whites support a different set of parties, and, with few exceptions, there is no crossover voting between groups. These voting tendencies have solidified the dominance of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) over South African politics and turned South African elections into "racial censuses." This book explores the political sources of these outcomes. It argues that although the beginnings of racialized election outcomes lie in South Africa's past, in the effects apartheid had on voters' beliefs about race and destiny and the reputations parties forged during this period, their endurance reflects the ruling party's ability to use the powers of office to prevent the opposition from evolving away from its apartheid-era party label. By keeping key opposition parties "white," the ANC has rendered them powerless, solidifying its hold on power in spite of an increasingly restive and dissatisfied electorate. The ruling party's ability to frame the opposition's image in the electorate thus lies at the heart of both its continued dominance and the persistence of racial-census elections in South Africa.

"This groundbreaking book presents a bold challenge to the conventional wisdom about identity voting. Regarding race as a `red herring,' the author shows how voting patterns in South Africa are politically engineered rather than socially structured. She traces the electoral victories of the ruling party to its success at painting an exclusionary political image of its main opponents. Ferree's contribution - valuable to scholars and campaign strategists alike - draws much needed attention to the politics of symbolic manipulation in dominant party systems." -Michael Bratton, Michigan State University
"To argue that the role of race in South African elections is a `red herring' is indeed a bold statement, one that might even be seen as heresy by veteran observers of that country's politics. Yet Karen Ferree offers a new and convincing explanation of South Africa's racial census elections that is backed up by an impressive range of empirical evidence, much of it original, and tested in a way that is both informed by the comparative study of competitive elections as well as a sensitive appreciation of the South African context. By focusing on the political strategy of negative framing, Ferree demonstrates how both the relative communications strategies and skills of the African National Congress and the major opposition parties, as well as their relative stock of quality candidates and campaign resources, conspire to maintain the way voters of different races view the credibility of the country's political parties." -Robert Mattes, University of Cape Town
"In the tradition of V.O. Key's Southern Politics, Karen Ferree convincingly explains how South African politicians thwart multi-racial coalitions to maintain the racial divides that preserve their power base. South Africa's cleavages are testament to the success of political strategies, not an inherent aspect of racial identity. Ferree's incisive analysis is important for any democracy - including the United States - with racial, ethnic or religious divisions." -Samuel Popkin, University of California, San Diego
"Ferree shows that what looks like a simple product of racial arithmetic-white South Africans axiomatically supporting traditionally `white' parties and black South Africans unthinkingly supporting the ANC-is more than just identity voting. It is, instead, the product of a conscious (and highly successful) political strategy on the part of the ANC, achieved through its monopoly of media coverage and its ability to buy off the best African political talent, to prevent its main rivals from escaping their association in voters' minds with the Apartheid era and the interests of whites. Framing the Race is not just the most insightful and analytically grounded account of South African politics in the post-Apartheid era but also one of the best recent books on how dominant party regimes maintain themselves in power." -Daniel Posner, University of California, Los Angeles

List of Tablesp. x
Acknowledgmentsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Votersp. 32
The 1994 Campaignsp. 65
The 1999 Campaignsp. 82
The 2004 Campaignsp. 107
Can a Leopard Change Its Spots? Candidate Demographics and Party Label Changep. 141
Why So Slow? The Political Challenges of Candidate Transformation for Opposition Partiesp. 163
Negative Framing Strategies and African Opposition Partiesp. 193
Conclusion: South Africa in Comparative Perspectivep. 222
Referencesp. 243
Indexp. 263
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521765091
ISBN-10: 0521765099
Series: Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 312
Published: 15th November 2010
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.1 x 16.2  x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.58