Civic Education and Democratic Backsliding in the Wake of Kenya's Post-2007 Election Violence

45 Pages Posted: 16 Aug 2010

See all articles by Steven E. Finkel

Steven E. Finkel

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Political Science

Jeremy Horowitz

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: August 13, 2010

Abstract

This paper examines two previously unexplored questions related to the impact of civic education programs in emerging democracies: 1) whether such programs have longer-terms effects, and 2) whether civic education can be effective in the context of democratic “backsliding.” We investigate these questions in the context of a large-scale civic education program implemented in Kenya between 2006 and 2007. The program ended just before the disputed 2007 election that sparked a wave of ethnic clashes that killed more than 1,000 people, displaced at least 350,000 from their homes, and brought the country to the brink of civil war. Data come from a survey of 3,600 respondents conducted in late-2008, about nine months after the violence. We test for program effects across a range of dependent variables, and find that the program did have longer-term effects, particularly on variables related to civic competence and engagement. It had less consistent effects, however, on core democratic values and orientations. These findings are consistent with previous studies of the short-term effects of civic education. Intriguingly, we also find that the program had positive effects related to Kenya’s post-election violence. Participants in the program who subsequently were affected by the violence were less likely (relative to non-participants who were later affected by the violence) to adopt negative beliefs about Kenya’s political system, less likely to support the use of ethnic or political violence, and more likely to forgive those responsible for the post-election violence.

Suggested Citation

Finkel, Steven E. and Horowitz, Jeremy, Civic Education and Democratic Backsliding in the Wake of Kenya's Post-2007 Election Violence (August 13, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1659381 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1659381

Steven E. Finkel (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh - Department of Political Science ( email )

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Jeremy Horowitz

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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