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Prof. Dr. Anja Osei


Freie Universität Berlin

Principal Investigator, Cluster Professor "Contemporary Politics and Societies in Africa"

In 2010 Anja Osei received a PhD in African Studies from the University of Leipzig. Until 2018 she held a Postdoc position at the Chair of International Relations and Conflict Management (Prof. Katharina Holzinger) at the University of Konstanz, Department of Politics and Public Administration. Since August 2018 she works as an independent senior researcher at the University of Konstanz, directing the EU funded project “Do Legislatures Enhances Democracy in Africa? DLEDA” (ERC Starting Grant 2017-759537).

Her research interests lie in the field of African politics and political sociology with a particular focus on democratization and electoral autocracies. Her habilitation project dealt with political elites and their formal and informal networks in Ghana, Togo, and Sierra Leone. The current project DLEDA seeks to understand the role of parliaments across different regime types in Africa. It includes seven case studies: Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Gabon, Tanzania, Togo, and Zimbabwe.

Research focus:

Prof. Oseis research focuses on state and society in sub-Saharan Africa. She is especially interested in democratization, authoritarian regimes, and political institutions like parliaments and political parties. Furthermore, she works on elites, political power, and social stratification. Her current main project is "Do Legislatures Enhance Democracy in Africa? (DLEDA)" funded by the European Research Council as an ERC Starting Grant. Employing a mix of quantitative, qualitative, and social network methods, the project explores what parliaments in Africa contribute to democratization. 

Her work is situated at the intersection between Political Science and Area Studies. There is often a tension between normative ideas about the functioning of state institutions on the one hand and lived political practice on the other hand. Gaining insights into contested notions of political order is only possible on a solid data basis and in close exchange with colleagues in the field. The comparative focus of her work enables her to contribute critical perspectives on political processes in non-Western societies to the overarching research framework of SCRIPTS. Her team is interdisciplinary and strives to overcome cleavages in the research landscape (qualitative vs. quantitative; political science vs. regional research; francophone/anglophone).

1. Monographs

2012. Party-Voter Linkage in Ghana and Senegal: A Comparative Perspective. Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag.

 2. Journals (peer-reviewed)

2022. “Personal Power in Africa: Legislative Networks and Executive Appointments in Ghana, Togo, and Gabon”, Government and Opposition, online first https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/government-and-opposition/article/personal-power-in-africa-legislative-networks-and-executive-appointments-in-ghana-togo-and-gabon/EAA750D844280F6C9128B36E04E9D312

2022. “Vicious Cycles: Candidate Selection, Vertical Accountability, and MPs' Performance in Sierra Leone”, Africa Today Vol. 68(3): 109-129.

2021. “Post-conflict democratization in Sierra Leone: The role of the parliament” Journal of Legislative Studies, 27(1): 112-135

2020. “Presidential term limits and regime types: When do leaders respect constitutional norms?”, Africa Spectrum 55(3): 251-271.

2018. “Elite Theory and Political Transitions: Networks of Power in Ghana and Togo”. Comparative Politics 51(1): 21–42.

2018. “Like Father, like Son? Power and Influence across Two Gnassingbé Presidencies in Togo”. Democratization 25(8): 1460–80.

2018. with Thomas Malang. “Party, ethnicity, or region? Determinants of informal political exchange in the parliament of Ghana”, Party Politics, 24(4), 410–420.

2016. “Formal Party Organisation and Informal Relations in African Parties: Evidence from Ghana”, The Journal of Modern African Studies 54(1): 37-66.

2015. “Elites and Democracy in Ghana: A Social Network Approach”, African Affairs 114 (457): 529–54.

2014. “From Conflict to Consensus? Elite Integration and Democracy in Ghana”, Comparative Sociology 13 (4), 503-530.

2013. “Political Parties in Ghana: Agents of Democracy?”, Journal of Contemporary African Studies 31 (4), 543-563.

2013. “Party-Voter Linkage in Senegal: The Rise and Fall of Abdoulaye Wade and the Parti Démocratique Sénégalais”, Journal of African Elections 12, 1, 84-108.

2013. “Party System Institutionalization in Ghana and Senegal”, Journal of Asian and African Studies 48, 5, 577-593.

2006. “La connexion entre les partis et les électeurs en Afrique: Le cas Ghanéen”, Politique Africaine N°104.

3. Chapters in edited volumes

2021. „Elites and Political Representation in West Africa”, in Elites, Cultures, and the Politics of Accountability in Africa, edited by Rogers Orock and Wale Adebanwi, Michigan University Press: Ann Arbor, 85-111.

2019. (with Dominik Balthasar). “Collaborating for Peace. An Analysis of Networks of Cooperation in Somalia”. In War and Peace in Somalia: National Grievances, Local Conflict and Al-Shabaab, eds. Michael Keating and Matt Waldman. New York: Oxford University Press, 477–88.

2018. (with Hervé Akinocho) “Constitutional Policies: Presidential Term Limits in Togo”, for the book Policy Styles and Policy-Making: Exploring the National Dimension, edited by Michael Howlett and Jale Tosun, Routledge.

2017. “Elites and Democracy in Ghana: A Social Network Approach”, in Nic Cheeseman, Lindsay Whitfield, & Carl Death (Eds.), The African Affairs Reader: Key Texts in Politics, Development, and International Relations (pp. 227–252). Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.

2014. “The 2012 Senegalese Presidential Elections”, in Lodge, Tom & Fakir, Ebrahim (eds.): African Political Parties. Johannesburg: Jacana Media.

4. Other Journals

2007. „Parteien und gesellschaftliche Verankerung in Ghana”, KAS Auslandsinformationen Juli 2007, Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung (KAS).

5. Book Reviews

2008. Amoah, Michael: Reconstructing the Nation in Africa. In: Africa Today, 55/1, 2008. 127-130.

6. Blog

“Political Parties and Democracy in Ghana”, for the Weblog “Democracy in Africa”, http://democracyinafrica.org/political-parties-democracy-ghana/

7. Media