Document Type

Graduate Syllabus


Fall 2004



Course Number

DIPL 6110

Course Description

This course will examine the critical and rapidly changing role of the state at the beginning of a new millennium as a result of internal and external factors, paying special attention to the state as a central player in ensuring the provision of public services, as well as facing the new challenges emerging around the world.

It will enable students to:

• assess the impact of global economic liberalisation and information dissemination on governments and their constituents;

• engage in specific analyses of the changing role of the state, the different actors and stake-holders involved, the mechanisms of governance at different levels; and the emerging frustrations and violence.

• identify the capacities of and constraints facing governance processes;

• critique the manner in which reforms undertaken by governments impact social, cultural and economic development; and

• analyse the challenges faced by governance with regard to democratisation;

To accomplish this, the course is divided into three thematic areas:

1. The State and the People - (internal factors): Under this first part of the course, students will identify the basic components of state-craft, the different actors who come into play in decision making, the relative importance of each over the course of history, the constants in different geographic contexts, etc. With the advent of fresh economic, social, and environmental challenges, there is a strong sense among governments that their scope for autonomous public action is being reduced by the forces of globalisation and the consequent growth of inter-dependence among states. Sound governance in the public sector is a critical factor for continued progress. A determined effort is thus required by governments in re-focussing the capacities of the public sector to meet the emerging challenges, and to grasp the opportunities thrown up by the global trends in a new millennium.

2. The State and Globalization - (external factors): Under this second part, students will review the process of rapidly increasing globalization, and its impact on the role of the state, the process of increasing inter-connectedness between societies such that events in one part of the world have increasing effects on people and societies far away. Economically, trans-national flows of commodities and production factors, such as capital and labour, are being accelerated. Politically, the sovereignty of nation states is being undermined, and certain kinds of supra-national authorities are being enhanced. Socio­ culturally, contacts between peoples in different parts of the world have become easier, enhancing the advent of a global culture and cultural homogenisation. The effect of the integration of markets, new information technology, the erosion of sovereignty, the growing role of non-state actors, and sub-national groups, and an increasing inter-dependence among states, has resulted in the emergence of a global community, global issues, and global actions. Students will analyse the changes required in the functions of the state so that it can effectively mitigate the impact of globalization to ensure sustainable development, and national security.

3. Reconstructing the State - (mechanisms of reform): Under this third part, students will review the need for recasting the roles of the institutions of the state, as well as the normal interaction between the various stakeholders - the state, the private sector and the civil society. They will analyse and debate on how national governance institutions can be reconstructed and retooled in different contexts within a climate of privatisation, participation, and decentralisation, how local governance can be promoted, how rule of law and regulatory frameworks can be established through responsible governance, and how democratic space can be created and maintained. This includes engaging civil society and the private sector in a dynamic partnership to improve the quality of developmental services, enhance social responsibilities, and ensure the broadest participation of citizens in civic life. The task o f the state is to take advantage of the forces of globalisation in providing a secure and stable domestic environment. The course will also analyse the manner in which the state can promote the participation of citizens in decision-making, enforce impartial legal frameworks, build transparency and promote accountability and equity, design policies on consensus, and provide strategic vision to overcome the challenges of mitigating the negative impacts of the global economy, transnational bodies, international law, powers and power blocs, and sub­ national fringe groups.