Governance and Statebuilding

School: School of Government
International Development Department

Modular value: 20 credits

Module Convenors: Claire Mcloughlin and Simon Delay

Aim of the Module

This module looks at the link between governance and state-building in developing countries, with a special focus on development policy. We will discuss aspects of good governance, specifically dealing with political development, the role of the state, corruption, citizenship and the role of service delivery. Cross-cutting themes include governance, inclusion and exclusion, and other actors outside the state (including the international community). We will also look at the relationship between state-building and peace-building in countries that have experienced conflict.

We will explore these issues in the context of different types of states, including both ‘resilient’ and ‘failed’ states, drawing on diverse case studies drawn from developing and transition countries, and different levels of civic engagement. Finally, we will assess the implications of applying the governance paradigm to difficult environments and consider the challenges posed to state-building efforts in these contexts. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module you will be able:

  • Describe and explain the link between governance and state-building in developing countries at the national, regional and international levels of analysis. 
  • Critically analyse the concepts, theories and approaches relating to governance and state-building with particular reference to developing countries. 
  • Demonstrate an in-depth understanding of how the principles and theories of governance and state-building may be applied to the practical situations facing policy makers in developing countries. 
  • Critically analyse and explain the impact of governance on state-building efforts in developing countries. 

Teaching and learning approach

The module will be delivered using a range of teaching and learning methods in a highly participatory environment, including interactive lectures, group discussions, case studies, videos and invited speakers.

Topics covered include:

  • Introduction: From good governance to state-building (L. Cooley)
  • Legitimacy and the state (C. McLoughlin)
  • Theories of state-building (N. Lemay-Hébert)
  • Governance and norms diffusion (L. Cooley)
  • Hybridity and statebuilding
  • Challenges to democratization (case study: Palestine; A. Rocha Menochal)
  • Institutional design and inclusion-exclusion dynamics (case study: Bosnia; L. Cooley)
  • State-building under international administrations (case study: Kosovo & East Timor; N. Lemay-Hébert)
  • Service delivery and state-building (case study: Afghanistan; C. McLoughlin)
  • Conclusion: In search of a new paradigm of intervention (N. Lemay-Hébert)


The assessment for the module will consist of:

  • One 4,000-word essay, worth 100% of the mark.

Related courses:

The optional modules listed on the website for this programme may unfortunately occasionally be subject to change. As you will appreciate key members of staff may leave the University and this necessitates a review of the modules that are offered. Where the module is no longer available we will let you know as soon as we can and help you make other choices.