SHE Level 5
SCQF Credit Points 7.00
ECTS Credit Points 3.50
Module Code MML212221
Module Leader n/a
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Politics
  • B (January start)

Summary of Content

The course examines empirical and theoretical perspectives and current debates concerning prospects for development in the states of the contemporary Third World, with particular emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa. The aim is to highlight the varied ways that contextual factors influence the activities of these states as well as the equally diverse responses they have made in seeking to overcome developmental constraints or to exploit developmental opportunities.


The course examines empirical and theoretical perspectives on political processes in the states of the contemporary Third World, with particular emphasis on current debates concerning developmental prospects in Sub-Saharan Africa. The specific focus of the course is on the relationships between politics and developmental success and failure, seeking to highlight those aspects of Third World political processes which have been most crucial to country developmental performance, whether positively or negatively. The central aim of the course is to introduce students to Third World politics in a theoretically-informed manner, without losing sight of the empirical variety and diversity of the subject.Topics to be covered will include debates over the nature of the Third World state, debates over the relationships between states and markets in the contempory global political economy, and debates over the relationships between states and societies within the Third World. The approach will highlight the relationships between polities, economies and societies and the course will seek to explain how the complex interactions between these variables structure state behavior, presenting Third World regimes with both opportunities to exploit and constraints to come to terms with.Topic 1The Third World state: historical background and contemporary trends. Colonialism and decolonisation. Bases of state power; clientelism and neo-patrimonialism; corporatism and personal rulership. Regimes and institutional evolution; militarisation and bureaucratic-authoritarianism; party systems and democratisation.Topic 2States and Markets: Colonial and post-colonial capitalism. Trade, agriculture and industrialisation. Socialist experiments. SOEs, TNEs and the privatisation/state shrinking debate. Debt and the role of IFIs. Resource extraction and underground economies. North-South relations, South-South trade, regionalisation and globalisation.Topic 3States and Societies: Nation-building and the state-nation. Political identities, pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial influences. Ethnicity, and class formation. Bases of political consensus and political conflict. Departicipation and the problems of civil society. Culture, gender and associational life, national and northern NGOs.

Learning Outcomes

The course will provide students with a detailed understanding of strategic institutional and policy issues in contemporary development studies, with key issues defined in relation to the central institutional and policy problems and options currently facing the decision-makers in Third World states. Students will be encouraged to reflect specifically on the policy implications raised by, and related to, the major development institutional/policy choices facing their own states and regions and to consider the developmental implications of particular institutional/policy options chosen in the light of available comparative evidence.As policy makers themselves, students will be expected to formulate (with appropriate assistance) their own assignment topics in relation to both the specific developmental issues facing their own states and to the possibilities for distilling practical policy lessons, both positive and negative, from wider comparative experience with particular policy and institutional choices.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

Two lectures and one class per week flexibly utilised to encourage maximal student involvement and participation. Tutorial meetings will be held monthly to form the disected learning programme to monitor the progress of independent learning, to provide private study and to discuss issues relating to projects and assessment.

Indicative Reading

M. Turner & D. Hulme, Governance, Administration and Development, Macmillan, 1997.World Bank, Bureaucrats in Business: The Economics and Politics of Government Ownership, OUP, 1995.World Bank, Private Capital Flows to Developing Countries: The Road to Financial Integration, OUP, 1997.C. Colclough & J. Manor, States or Markets ?, OUP, 1991.J. Healey & M.Robinson, Democracy, Governance & Economic Policy, ODI, 1992.

Transferrable Skills

Skills developed relate particularly to:- accessing policy-relevant information from a variety of sources, including the internet and other remote/electronic sources, - collating and evaluating such information for policy-relevant purposes,-presenting policy-relevant findings and arguments coherently and succinctly both orally and in writing,-communicating and disseminating policy-relevant advice effectively and efficiently in appropriate formats.

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (FT) 9.00
Seminars (FT) 12.00
Lectures (FT) 24.00
Independent Learning (FT) 30.00