Politics, Power and Development

Politics, Power and Development
Weight of the course
Course Leader
Teaching Methods
Wil Hout
Mohamed Salih, Jeff Handmaker, Karin Arts, Rosalba Icaza,
Karim Knio, Thanh Dam Truong
Participatory Lecture, Workshop
Written examination: 100%
Karin Hirdes
Learning objectives
At the end of the course, students will understand:
 the relevance of politics to development and how political power influences the direction
and outcomes of development interventions;
 Classical theories of the state, state-society interactions and political systems;
 a critical introduction to broad notions of sovereignty and legal vs. democratic legitimacy;
 state formation, social forces and development, elucidating the role of the state and the
use and abuse of state power as well as the relationship between state and “non-state
actors” in development situations.
Course description
Politics structure the possibilities for realising development, social justice and societal change.
This course introduces students to the major manifestations of political power (decision-making,
agenda-setting, influence, thought control and organic) as well as the workings of international
law and the forces that frame it in international relations.
This course enables students to analyse and communicate how development mediates power
relations and structures and determines how societies, states and (legal) institutions, local,
national and international, influence each other. Having completed the course the students will be
able to explain the centrality of political power in development interventions, responses and
counter-responses to these interventions.
Indicative Readings
Anghie, A (2004) Imperialism, Sovereignty and the Making of International Law, Cambridge,
Cambridge University Press.
Falk R (2005) ‘Legality and legitimacy: the quest for principled flexibility and restraint’ Review of
International Studies (2005), 31, 33–50.
Feng Y (2001). Politics and Development, Journal of Democracy, Volume 12, Number 1, January,
Fritz, V and Menocal A R (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. London: Palgrave
Heywood, A (2007) Politics. London: Palgrave.
Hickey, Sam (2008) 'The return of politics in development studies (I): capturing the political?',
Progress in Development Studies 8(4): 349–58.
Hickey, Sam (2009) 'The return of politics in development studies (II): getting lost within the
poverty agenda?', Progress in Development Studies 9(2): 141–52.
Hyden, G (1997), ‘Society, Social Capital, and Development: Dissection of a Complex Discourse’,
Studies in Comparative International Development, Spring 1997, Vol. 32, No. 1, 3-30
Mercer C (2002) ‘NGOs, civil society and democratization: a critical review of the literature’
Progress in Development Studies 2(1), 5-22.