Governance and Development



Credit / Semester / Schedule / Language

2 Credits / Winter / Monday Period: 5 / English


The objectives of the course are: 1) to give students a historical understanding of the context of the rise and fall of major development theories on which donors have based their aid policies; 2) to deal with the ways in which current international development cooperation takes place in the areas at issue – with the primary focus being placed on ‘governance’ amongst them; 3) to provide a critical assessment of the ways in which the concept of ‘governance’ and the role of state are framed through international development discourse in general and development aid in particular.

By the end of the course, students will be able to understand firstly why a certain theory was emerged at a certain point of history and why it was adopted by donors, and how it was turned into their aid policies. Secondly, students will deepen their understandings of the impact of implemented aid policies on recipient states’ governments and societies at large – i.e. the governance of recipient states.


governance, development, state, aid


In order to fulfill the above objectives, the course broadly consists of three parts. First, we will examine three questions as a basis for discussion throughout the course: what is international development cooperation?; what is the point of tracing the history of development theories in aid policies instead of directly tackling current ‘hot’ issues?; and why should we focus upon the role of the state rather than other agencies of development on the recipient side?

We then proceed to the second part of the course. Serving as a background to the issues dealt with in the third part, this part will trace a historical process of theory–policy selection in development aid. Starting from colonial experiences, we will go through the past 60 years of international development cooperation up to the current situation under which many agendas are in fusion. This process will help us understand why they are now on the list of international development cooperation organisations and how they relate to each other. At the end of the second part, which would also serve as a bridge between the second part and the third part, we will marshal the meanings of ‘governance’ and its relationships with other agendas. It will become clear that several important agendas converge at the concept of ‘governance’.

The third part will look at the practice of ‘doing international development’ which has affected the governance of developing countries. By referring to case studies, students will be able to visualise many aspects of international development cooperation in action. In so doing, they will analyse from the cases the interactions between state and society in recipient countries and influences of donors on those interactions. All this will lead students to understand limitations of the conventional governance model on which current development aid is based. In search of a new way of looking at governance, therefore, we will also deal with cases which do not fit well with the model. Based on the insights thus obtained through various case studies, students will have a better understanding of the ways in which ‘development’ of recipient countries is governed, which will be the final topic to consider.

Teaching Methods

The course will be taught using a mixture of lectures and seminars. In a session, the lecturers will first give students a brief overview of the past sessions to contextualise the topics for the day. Then selected students will do presentations on assigned readings and lead discussions on particular topics, using prepared notes and other presentational aids. The lecturers will sum up the discussion and give students an introduction to the topics studied in the next session with handouts which clarify the arguments developed in the assigned readings when necessary. Students are welcome to access the lecturers if they have questions or need supervision in writing an essay.


The overall assessment mark for the course will be based on students’ performance in the following three categories: general attitude in sessions; presentation on assigned readings; an essay of 5000 words in English. Students should feel free to select any topic for their essay as long as they tackle issues relevant to BOTH ‘governance’ AND ‘development’. Writing an essay will provide students with the opportunity to focus on a particular aspect of these two areas of investigation, whilst drawing on a range of literature and approaches studied throughout the course.

Required Text

There is no set textbook due to the wide coverage of the issues handled in the course. Instead, required and additional readings will be listed in the handouts for the relevant sessions.

Reference Books

The following will be of use for students who are interested in the themes of the course:

Centre for the Future State (2010) An Upside Down View of Governance (Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex).
Chhotray, Vasudha and Stoker, Gerry (2009) Governance Theory and Practice: A Cross-Disciplinary Approach (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).
de Haan, Arjan (2009) How the Aid Industry Works: An Introduction to International Development (Sterling, VA: Kumarian Press).
Graig, Alastair, Hulme, David and Turner, Mark (2007) Challenging Global Inequality: Development Theory and Practice in The 21st Century (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan).
Harrison, Graham (2004) The World Bank and Africa: the Construction of Governance States (London: Routledge).
Hout, Wil and Robison, Richard eds. (2009) Governance and Depoliticisation of Development (London: Routledge).
Kjaer, Anne Mette (2004) Governance (Cambridge: Polity).

Please note that in the course the above texts will not necessary be used.

Notes on Taking the Course

English is the mode of communication in the course. Therefore students wishing to take the course must have a good command of the language.

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