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Overview - political analysis

This page forms part of the Governance Theme section on 'political systems'. The texts below are key theoretical papers informing practical approaches to work on political systems.

Key texts

Leftwich, A. et al, 2002. 'Debate: democracy and development - A contradiction in the politics of economics', New Political Economy, vol. 7, no. 2, pp. 269-81.
Western donor organisations insist on the democratisation of developing countries as a condition for aid. It is believed that democratisation fosters development. Yet, is there strong evidence that this is really true? This article from the journal 'New Political Economy' discusses the tension between democracy and development. The author argues that democracy is a conservative system of power.
Full document available online

Moore, M. and Putzel, J. 1999 Thinking Strategically about Politics and Poverty, IDS Working Paper no. 101, Institute of Development Studies: Brighton.
A working paper commissioned by the UK Department for International Development considers the need to assess the political context in which policy interventions are taken in the developing world. Aid donors should undertake political impact assessments before implementing programmes and recognise that they are themselves political actors within their working environment. An understanding of the political system and expert local knowledge must support country-level operations.
Full document available online

Carothers, T. 1997, 'Democracy assistance: the question of strategy,' Democratization, vol. 4, no.3, pp. 109 - 132.
This article, in Democratization, is based primarily on US experience, although the point is made that most western countries have similar experiences. It finds that democratisation rests on a conventional model of western liberal democracy and is generally devoted to technical institution building. Three positive and four negative consequences are identified, though it is noted that efforts are underway to address the faults.
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