The Cameroon Federation: Political Integration in a Fragmentary Society

The Cameroon Federation: Political Integration in a Fragmentary Society

Willard R. Johnson
Copyright Date: 1970
Pages: 440
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    The Cameroon Federation: Political Integration in a Fragmentary Society
    Book Description:

    The federation of the previously British and French Cameroons has, since 1961, tried to integrate a highly fragmented, bilingual society in which nearly every social cleavage found in Africa was present, including the complication of disparate colonial legacies.

    Professor Johnson describes the impact of these different colonial legacies on the traditional cultural patterns of Cameroon, attempting to explain the rise of the movement for political reunion among them. He considers the character of the federal union and the Cameroonian leaders' conception of federalism in the light of other experiences with federalism (e.g. the early United States). His conclusions involve the potential importance and limitations of federalism for the new Africa, the role and impact of political rebellion and violence, and the important conceptual distinctions that should be made between processes of political integration and nation-building.

    Originally published in 1970.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6965-7
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. vii-x)

    This book presents a study of political integration. It centers on a single but exceptionally instructive example, the experience of the Federal Republic of Cameroon. Though it is a study of a single case, the case involved provides us with issues that are relevant to all of Africa, indeed, to most of the new states of the world. This set of issues acquires its widespread relevance from the ubiquitous process with which it is closely associated—the modernization of societies and their political systems. In Africa the issues also derive from the profound challenges of its history of cultural impingement...

  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-1)
  5. [Map]
    (pp. 2-2)
    • 1 Integrating Political Systems
      (pp. 4-25)

      Nationalism and the independence it has won for the new African states has not and cannot satisfy their quest for modernization. Independence has revealed more clearly than anything else the extensive range of aspirations and values that lie beyond nationalism as part of the ideology of modernization.¹ The basic motives remained the same—a desire for self-government, improved material well-being, and greater individual and collective efficacy. But the programmatic themes which supported them have changed. Economic themes have become more important, and with the failure to achieve significant progress in the economic sphere, a concern with achieving order and stability,...

    • 2 Integration and System Change
      (pp. 26-38)

      The task of integration theory, or even of conflict theory, is not to predict and describe political systems in creation or expunction, but to do so for the many in change. The greatest challenge to integration theory is to make comprehensible the character and direction of the change. The significance of change in a system relates to its identity, which involves change and constancy.

      Identity—the capacity of a system to persist, its viability—is based on the “invariants” of the system. As Anatol Rapoport argues: “My identity as a living organism is a fact because of the aspects of...

    • [PART II Introduction]
      (pp. 39-41)

      On the first of October 1961 the Trust Territory of Southern Cameroons, formerly under the administration of the United Kingdom, and the independent Republic of Cameroun, formerly also a Trust Territory but under the administration of France, were joined in a federal union. The very creation of such a Federation is remarkable when the diversity it was made to encompass is considered. Its creation was a product of what one observer has termed “the Kamerun Idea,” a deeply rooted belief that the 32 years of German rule, despite its harshness, had welded these diverse and sometimes warring peoples into a...

    • 3 Patterns of Identity in the Indigenous Cultures
      (pp. 42-67)

      The Kamerun Idea exaggerated the coherence of political values and identity concepts, along with the extensiveness of cultural continuities among the peoples of the two Cameroons Trust Territories. While notable affinities and continuities of this sort existed, they were insufficient to constitute a basis for national awareness or to make social and political interaction natural and the purveyor of complementary relationships. Not only were there significant disparities between the identity patterns and value orientations of the peoples of the merging states, but of various regional and/or ethnic groups within them. The new Federation would not be exempt from the problems...

    • 4 Colonialism as a Culture Carrier
      (pp. 68-88)

      The great truth Western students of the developing areas are prone to see in the relatively brief European experience with direct colonial rule is that it spread the revolution of the rational, science-based society to almost all the rest of the world. This view prevails despite the perversities of the experience, which some students have found only in the brutality, exploitation, and abuse of power that unfettered control usually breeds and which others find only in the ageless “old abuses” of a “savage” tradition whose resurgence seems to them guaranteed by a “premature” independence of the colonies. These students seem...

    • 5 Patterns of Functional Interests
      (pp. 89-111)

      Political stakes are not only the valuables available for distribution, but also the means (power) by which individuals or groups affect the authoritative (collectivity-sanctioned) allocations of them. In this chapter I am considering such stakes as “interests.” Functional interests are those interests that are relevant to the operation of the whole system, as distinguished from those that affect only the individuals who enjoy or seek control of them.

      Among the major interests motivating social activity, at least politically relevant activity, are material valuables, the structure of their distribution, and the power relationships capable of altering that structure or generating increments...

    • 6 Patterns of Political Interaction
      (pp. 112-134)

      We have considered the conjunctive aspect of the relationship between the two Cameroon Territories prior to union insofar as patterns of identity, culture, and economic life were concerned. I have characterized some of the complementary and conflicting features of these relationships. It is important to do the same for the relationships between Cameroon political leaders and organizations, for such relationships usually provide the catalysts for political union. In this case, was there the high level of interaction and undistorted and responsive political communication which the Deutsch school considers so important a motive to political union and integration? Which forces facilitated...

    • 7 The Value System of Ultimate Ends
      (pp. 135-167)

      The ideology of modernization has taken deep roots in Cameroonian politics. Both the ideas of Cameroon independence and reunification are derived from and in turn nurtured by this ideology and the related one of nationalism. Since every important political force in the country finally embraced the two objectives of independence and reunification, it can be said that ideology permeated the Cameroonian political arena and provided the basis for a common political culture among modernized elements. However, the attitudes, values, and programs of the major political forces are in stark contrast to those of the traditional elites of the parochial societies...

    • 8 The Value System of Means: The Distribution of Power
      (pp. 168-198)

      My approach to the aspect of value consensus that concerns the distribution of power among Cameroon political figures is akin to that taken by Apter.¹ Rather than treating the structural characteristics of the society as given, however, or appropriate in any preordained way to particular mixes of instrumental and consummatory objectives, I am proposing here that deep rooted preferences respecting the distribution of power are an important dimension of the value system itself. The fact that the elite groups of the two Cameroons faced the task of building the structures of a new and overarching state makes the dimension especially...

    • 9 Conjunctive Allocations of Authority
      (pp. 200-232)

      The most important aspect of the allocation of authority, the distribution of decision-making jurisdiction, was that which affected the capacities of the two states of Cameroon to define and pursue their interests as collectivities vis-á-vis the central government. There was a second dimension to the question, however, which affected more local levels of government and thus the legal right of regional and parochial groups to assert themselves or manage their own affairs. The first aspect was directly involved in the allocation of responsibility and prerogative regarding the general conduct and finances of government, and especially the maintenance of law and...

    • 10 Conjunctive Structures of Political Activity: The Eastern System
      (pp. 233-256)

      Cameroon has produced the form but not the substance of a single party state. There is no single pervasive network of people who have organized themselves into a stable hierarchy of influence and communication, who take orders from particular people and give them to certain others, and who all agree on the extralegal ground rules for the game of politics. A formal organization exists, which embodies formal and informal hierarchies of power and which monopolizes the prerogatives of official political party activity. This organization is not cohesive, however; the differences between its factions and subgroupings are as important as the...

    • 11 Conjunctive Structures of Political Activity: The Western and Federal Systems
      (pp. 257-285)

      The divergent characteristics of the reunification movements of East and West Cameroon, which became apparent during their latter stages before the UN plebiscite, were still in evidence after federation. Whereas in East Cameroon the initial spokesmen were excluded from power altogether and the latter-day reunificationists were able to progressively consolidate their political positions by supporting this theme, in the West all the political forces and nearly every person involved in the movement continued to exercise genuine power in the system. The political parties of West Cameroon became increasingly parochial in orientation and localized in support, and the party system progressively...

    • 12 Complementary Rewards of Political Activity
      (pp. 286-317)

      Complementarity in the product of political activity is the single most important integrative factor in a political system. Political systems may persist for a time on the basis of high levels of coercion, where different political actors are linked together by bonds of interaction which are not mutually beneficial, or they may persist on the basis of low levels of interaction so that potential conflicts are avoided and potential benefits forfeited. But historians record few political systems—ones within which significant numbers of people are politically mobilized—that lasted very long, where the rewards of politics were not rather evenly...

    • 13 Complementary Allocations of Resources
      (pp. 318-347)

      Aggregate figures for economic and financial conditions in the Cameroon Federation reveal few spectacular changes in the years since reunification. These figures belie considerable turbulence and change in the economic plight of the states and of certain sectors of the economy, however. Economic and financial officials remained at sea throughout the period, riding out waves of prosperity and growth in some sectors while plunging into the troughs of decline and hardship in others. They lost or at least lacked a sense of control over the economy; some, especially from West Cameroon, also lacked a sense of participation in the process...

    • 14 The Control of Dissidence
      (pp. 348-362)

      Cameroon’s experience is an exception to the general pattern of decolonization, in that it involved violent and protracted conflict between militant nationalists and the colonial authority. It is a commonplace observation that in nearly every newly independent black African state only a minimum of struggle was required to achieve independence. No other nationalist movements, until the crisis in the former Belgian Congo, involved a sustained war effort. The purpose of most movements was to organize public opinion or create a broad and vociferous front of groups which would demand accelerated progress toward the realization of goals already established or rather...

    • 15 Conclusions
      (pp. 363-374)

      Scholarship on Africa is in turbulence, and not simply because African events are themselves unsettled. There has been so much new literature on Africa to appear in the last few years that there is no suitable way to keep up with it. The mixture that results is kept so ebullient by activity that there is as yet no settling of the worst, or a surfacing of the best of these works. Moreover, the larger body of general political and social analysis also knows a good deal of unsettledness. Theories rise and fall before they are subjected to adequate empirical tests,...

  9. APPENDIX I “Interrelations of Major Political Groups Over Time, in Relation to Issue of Reunification”
    (pp. 377-377)
  10. APPENDIX II Election Results: East and West Cameroon, 1953-1967, by Party
    (pp. 378-379)
  11. Bibliography
    (pp. 380-406)
  12. Index
    (pp. 407-426)