ISS-1102-1415 States Societies and the Politics of

ISS-1102 States, Societies and the Politics of Development
Weight of the course
Course Leader
Teaching Methods
Modes of Assessment
Joop de Wit
Joop de Wit, Sylvia Bergh, t.b.a.
Participatory Lecture
Written Exam: 100%
Nalini Harnam
Learning objectives
At the end of the course, students will know:
 the relevance of politics to development and how political power influences the direction and
outcomes of development interventions;
 key concepts and theories of the state, state-society interactions, political systems, as well as
sovereignty and legitimacy;
 different forms of government (democratic, authoritarian, developmental) as well as actors in
governance and democracy such as politicians and civil society organizations;
 leading determinants and characteristics of state formation, social forces and development,
including the use and abuse of state power and the (formal and informal) relations between
state and non-state actors in development situations.
Course description
Politics structure the possibilities for realizing development, social justice and societal change. This
course introduces students to the major manifestations of political power by locating it in the context of
state-society relationships. It will enable students to analyse and communicate how development
mediates power relations and structures, and how states, societies and institutions at local, national
and international levels influence each other. Having completed the course the students will be able to
explain the centrality of political power in development interventions, and in responses and counterresponses to these interventions.
The course is located in the field of politics of development and addresses key concepts and theories
of power in relation to the actors and institutions of governance and democracy in development. This
foundation course in politics furthermore introduces students to certain themes that lay the
foundations for explaining this enduring relationship, namely:
 Classical theories of the state, state-society interactions and political systems.
 Critical introduction to broad notions of sovereignty and legal, democratic and other
(traditional, charismatic) forms of legitimacy.
 Different types of political systems and government regimes, including the role of nationalism,
ideology and political stability.
 The relations between governance and politics and non-state actors such as civil society,
social movements and market actors and firms.
Indicative readings
Bebbington, A.J., S. Hickey and D.C. Mitlin (2008) Can NGOs Make a Difference? The Challenge of
Development Alternatives. London: Zed Books.
Fritz, V. and A.R. Menocal (2007) ‘Developmental States in the New Millennium: Concepts and Challenges for a
New Aid Agenda’, Development Policy Review 25(5): 531-552.
Haugaard, M. (ed.) (2002) Power: A Reader. Manchester: Manchester University Press.
Heywood, A. (2004) Political Theory: An Introduction. (3rd edn) New York, London: Palgrave MacMillan.
Heywood, A. (2007) Politics. (3rd edn) New York, London: Palgrave MacMillan.
Leftwich, A. (2007) States of Development: The Primacy of Politics in Development. Cambridge: Polity Press.
Robinson, M. and G. White (eds) (1998) The Democratic Developmental State: Politics and Institutional Design.
New York: Oxford University Press.