POLI 227 Lecture Notes - Path Dependence, Class Conflict
FEBRUARY 1, 2012:
Legacies of Colonialism:
Colonialism: The Developmental View: (modernization approach)
It would see colonialism as modernization speeded up. The emergence of
independent state, economic development, etc. was just the eventual results of
Demands: destruction of traditional social and political organization, accelerated
social mobilization, new ideas, rising expectations associated with transition to
It would create new demands, but also give the newly independent state certain
disadvantages to their capabilities→ what are the new countries (borders, ex. South
Sudan split from Sudan, Eritrea from Ethiopia), administration and institutions left
behind by the colonial legacy (British left a robust civil service/institutions in India).
Capabilities: problems of political leadership and institutionalization, poverty and
limited resources (when British left South Yemen there was 1 person with statistic
capabilities and very little paved road).
Result: political instability
Stability requires strong political apparatus to control demands → a nationalist
party? The military. Army often took power.
Colonialism: The Underdevelopment View:
Colonial era created a structure of sub-ordination→ created inferiority that was
sustained through dependency
Dependency: economics, social, political, cultural
It produced two struggles: class struggle, and nationalist regimes vs. the dominant
Colonialism: An Institutionalist View
Argue that institutions are important, but what is important about them is how they
constrain or open up political actions→ it creates certain political legacy, a degree of
path dependency from the political institutions you inherited
What was the constitutional legal system at independence and did they survive?
Legacies of institutions forged in the colonial and immediate post-colonial era (ex.
Constitution, legal system, parties→ or national liberation movement)
Ex) India→ India is a very poor country at the time of independence, ridden by
class/caste/ethnicity/regional etc. differences that suffered a bloody partition from
Pakistan, so it is the exception to the rule because it survived as a democracy when
others who weren’t as divided, were richer, stronger, etc. didn’t make it. India had
very strong civil service by colonial standards a robust legal system leftover from
British colonialism that other countries didn’t have.
State building and Political Consolidation
At independence, much changed. Colonial rule ended, there was a new state and
state machinery, and new political demands.
Economic dependency and the structure of local societies remained the same.
There was instability in most post-colonial regimes (ex. Coups, civil conflict)
The proportion of countries in civil conflict increased steadily beginning the 1970s
and spikes in the early 1990s.
How important is stability?
o Stability as a prerequisite
o Stability and repression (ex. Saddam Hussein, Adolf Hitler both were in
power for a very long time and were “stable”)
o Maintaining order→ industrialized vs. developing world
o Growing political stability? Economic growth creates resources that creates a
“bigger slice of the pie,”
o Institutionalization→ do they occur hand in hand, democratization, time (a
learning/social, political, cultural exercise)
State building as a major task
Political Consolidation→ repression, coalitions** All political leaders want to
consolidate their political power.
Democracy vs. non-democracy