IDSC13H3: State Formation and the Politics of Development in the Global South: Explaining Divergent Outcomes

The state has proven to be one of the key factors paving the way for some countries in the Global South to escape conditions of underdevelopment and launch successful development programs over time. But, why have effective states emerged in some countries in the Global South and not in others? This course seeks to answer this question by investigating processes of "state formation" using a comparative historical approach.

The course will begin by introducing students to theories of state formation. These theories will raise important questions about state formation processes that include: What is a modern, "rational-legal" state in theory? What do states look like in practice? What is state capacity and what are its components? What is the infrastructural power of the state and how does it differ from the despotic power of a state? How do state efforts to extend infrastructural power ignite political battles for social control at both elite and popular sector levels of society? Finally, how do processes of state formation unfold over time? The course, then, dives into comparative examinations of state formation using examples from across the Global South – from Central and South America to Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, and East Asia.

IDSC10H3 if taken in Winter 2023; POLC90H3 if taken in Winter 2018, Winter 2019, Winter 2020, Winter 2021.
Social and Behavioural Sciences