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Dignified Public Expression: A New Logic of Political Accountability

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Research on political accountability emphasizes elections and popular control, but often neglects how ordinary people hold their leaders to account in the context of daily life. Dominant scholarly approaches emphasize the logic of electoral sanctioning and removal, missing the importance of mutual respect between representatives and citizens. This article introduces a new logic of democratic accountability based on the social practices, daily political behaviors, and public deliberation between representatives and citizens. Using urban Ghana as a study site, this article uncovers the mechanisms through which a theory based on respect works in practice. By reconciling theories of political representation with deliberative democracy, the article places the voices of urban Ghanaians in conversation with Western political thought to broaden understandings of accountability in African democracies.

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Appeared or available online: July 12, 2019

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