Richard Asante, a political scientist from the University of Ghana (currently based at Northwestern University) spoke at SAIS today on “Deficit in Social Trust: A Paradox in Ghana’s Democratic Development” (although this differed from the title on his PowerPoint, ‘Informal Institutions, Trust, and Democracy in Ghana’). In his introductions, Peter Lewis spoke of the significant role that Asante has played in US Africanist convocations in recent years, presenting at the African Studies Association meeting in 2012 and participating in the American Political Science Association’s Africa workshop in 2011.
First some disclaimers, I have briefly worked with Asante (although I don’t know him at all) and I left at the conclusion of his prepared remarks. Asante spoke from a methodological scientific view point, not going too much into specifics, preferring instead to hammer home concise points to support his theory that democratization in Ghana was not due to luck, but rather the strong role of both formal and particularly informal institutions. Continue reading