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Module Specifications

Archived Version 2010 - 2011

Module Title Politics & Development in Africa
Module Code LG542
School School of Law & Government

Online Module Resources

Module Co-ordinatorDr. Niamh GaynorOffice NumberC222
Level 5 Credit Rating 10
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Module Aims

To introduce students to recent developments in the politics of sub-Saharan Africa, and provide them with the theoretical and conceptual tools to evaluate and analyse these developments. By approaching the politics of the region through the lens of state-society relationships it covers a wide diversity of countries, languages, cultures, histories and political structures, and addresses issues including the colonial legacy, nationalism, ethnicity, neo-patrimonialism, development, structural adjustment, democratisation, environmentalism, conflict and the African Renaissance? The nature of the African state and its relationship to both domestic societies, as well as to the international system, will provide a conceptual focus to the module.

Learning Outcomes

To develop an understanding of Africa’s current challenges and opportunities, and to situate those within a global frame of reference.   

Indicative Time Allowances
Lectures 12
Tutorials 0
Laboratories 0
Seminars 0
Independent Learning Time 138

Total 150
Assume that a 10 credit module load represents approximately 150 hours' work, which includes all teaching, in-course assignments, laboratory work or other specialised training and an estimated private learning time associated with the module.

Indicative Syllabus
  • Historical background: some key legacies from pre-colonialism, colonialism and post-colonialism.
  • The African State

             participation, political parties and state capacity

  • The Construction of Ethnicity, Conflict and Democracy
  • External Intervention, “Crisis” Management and the World Bank/IMF
  • Africa and the International System
  • The African Union and other other ‘sub’ regional organisations
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Indicative Reading List

Ake, Claude. Democracy and Development in Africa. Washington D.C.: The Brookings Institute, 1996.

Bratton, Michael and Nicholas van de Walle. Democratic Experiments in Africa: Regime Transitions in Comparative Perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Chabal, Patrick & Jean-Pascal Daloz. Africa Works: Disorder as Political Instrument. Oxford: International African Institute in association with James Currey, 1999.

Graham Harrison, Issues in the Contemporary Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2002).

Kevane, Michael, Women and development in Africa : how gender works. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2003).

Leonard, David K. and Scott Straus, Africa’s Stalled Development: International Causes and Cures (Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 2003).

Mkandawire, Thandika and Charles Soludo (eds.) African Voices on Structural Adjustment (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press, 2003).

Onimode, Bade et al., African Development and Governance Strategies in the 21st Century (London: Zed, 2004).

Salih, Mohammed ed. African Political Parties – Evolution, Institutionalisation and Governance. London: Pluto Press, 2003.

Smith, Brian C. Understanding Third World Politics: Theories of Political Change and Development. 2nd Ed. Bloomington, Indiana University Press.

van de Walle, Nicolas, Nicole Ball and Vijaya Ramachandram Beyond structural adjustment : the institutional context of African development., (Palgrave, 2003.)


Programme or List of Programmes
HMSAStudy Abroad (Humanities & Soc Science)
IFPDEVPre-Masters Intl.Found.Prog.Devel.Studie
IFPSDEPre-Masters Intl.Found.Prog.Devel.Studie
IFPSICPre MSc Intl Foun Sgl Sem Intl Sec & Con
IFPSIRPre MSc Intl Foun Sgl Sem Intl Rels
MAISMA in Intercultural Studies
MDEVMA in Development
MIRMA in International Relations
MISCMA in International Security & Conflict