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Governing Complex Societies: Federalism, Decentralisation and Development (Module)

Module description

This module looks at governance structures in the complex societies of many emerging economies today. Specifically, it looks at the increasing diversity of ‘multi-level’ forms of government – federalism, decentralisation, autonomy arrangements – that have been adopted by different countries as they seek to deal with issues ranging from ethnic conflict, enabling economic growth to improving social outcomes and accountability. Over 40% of the world’s population live in countries that are formally federal or in the process of federalising (moving towards systems of government that combine the self-rule of regional units, with shared rule at the centre), and many more live within countries that have experimented with decentralisation. In the 1980s and 1990s, there was a strong policy consensus in favour of decentralising power in developing countries as part of governance reforms. Yet the outcomes of decentralisation for development remain contested, and many countries have sought to recentralise power.  In the module, we look at debates about whether federalism helps resolve ethnic conflict, how federalism relates to democratisation, whether decentralisation helps produce greater economic dynamism and whether it is likely to aid accountability/reduce corruption at the local level. Students are encouraged to develop close familiarity with case studies in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Russia, and to bring theory into discussion with real world examples. 

Staff information

Louise Tillin

Teaching pattern

10 x 1.5 hour lectures

10 x 1 hour seminars

Module assessment - more information

Research Paper (3,000 words) 60%

Examination 40%

Key information

Module code 7YYD0034

Credit level 7

Assessment coursework written examination/s

Credit value 20

Semester Semester 2 (spring)

Study abroad module Yes