Who is responsible for corruption? Framing strategies of social movements in West Africa mobilizing against presidential term amendments

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Since 2011 youth movements have staged large protests in African countries for presidential term limits. These have been discussed as struggles against de-democratization. Looking at the movements Y'en a marre in Senegal and Balai citoyen in Burkina Faso we argue that these protests were just as much triggered by socio-economic grievances linked to a corrupt patronage system. Indeed, corruption has been a major issue for both campaigns. We ask how the movement leaders linked the fight against corruption with their struggle against third term amendments in a way that sparked mass mobilization. We use the framing approach as our theoretical framework and show that a framing based on the concept of citizenship enabled both movements to link the issue of corruption to the issue of presidential term amendments and at the same time create a sense of agency in the constituency. This explains at least partly why both Y'en a marre and Balai Citoyen succeeded in their mobilizing efforts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPartecipazione e Conflitto
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)850-873
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We are very grateful for the support of the Freie Universität Berlin within the Excellence Initiative of the German Research Foundation and the Leuphana University Lüne-burg. We highly appreciate the helpful comments of two anonymous reviewers on a former version of this article. Further, we would like to thank Anne Hansen and Gur-meet Singh for their support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 - University of Salento.