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C LASS N OTES FOR : P OLITICAL S CIENCE 2XX3
McMaster University, Fall 2013
M ONDAY , NOVEMBER 11, 2013
Q. How to study third world politics?
1. Examine state/society relationship [Different societies give rise to different polities]
- Need to understand the kind of societies
2. Establish the theoretical context [Family resemblance minimum standards]
- It is important to determine the context (WHAT IS DEMOCRACY?)
- The elusive meaning of democracy
- Definitions of democracy
- What do we understand by democracy?
3. Delimit the comparative context [Conditions for democracy]
- This is a course on comparative politics, which means a number of things
- Against whom are we going to compare the third world‟s failure to develop democratic institutions?
- Against us, because we invented democracy.
- The developed world invented democracy, human rights, etc.
- Institutions that originated in the third world.
- We also need to compare countries amongst themselves and different periods in their history.
- Comparison never ends!
- Why has the first world been able to develop all of these institutions?
4. Assess the historical context [The impact of colonialism]
- What is the impact that colonialism might have in explaining these democratic failures?
WHY HAVE COUNTRIES IN THE THIRD WORLD FAILED TO DEVELOP
IMPACT OF COLONIALISM
H ISTORICAL ANDSTRUCTURAL FACTORS
Colonialism presented the newly independent countries with some incredible challenges
These obstacles are predominant in the failure to „adhere‟ to all of these democratic institutions, and
all of these documents that the Europeans left behind in the 1950s and 1960s
Immediately after independence many of these newly independent governments might have
presented themselves as being supportive, but within these kind of societies upon which these
politics are embedded, its difficult to replicate the Western European experience
DEEP ETHNIC DIVISIONS
1. Impact the kind of development
2. There were different divisions –
3. But the Europeans entrenched these divisions and transformed them into antagonistic divisions
4. Entrenched ethnic divisions became antagonistic and could become a part of a moral, political
a. Belgium ethnic divisions entrenched in Rwanda, Burundi, etc.
b. These are still ethnic divisions that are present
c. Societies divided by Ethnicity – Fragmented politics
d. These societies are not as clearly stratified, but many different religions (beginning with
ethnicity, linguistic divisions, religious, cultural, regional, tribal, etc.)
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Fall 2013 Started on: 11/11/2013 6:32:00 AM
e. It is hard to practice politics because there are many demanding parties trying to get a
source over the political power.
SHALLOW SENSE OF NATIONHOOD
1. Colonial power was by definition – arbitrary!
2. The geographical division of Africa as an example
a. People who used to live together found themselves separated by these arbitrary colonial
divisions; these divisions brought people who used to live apart together.
b. Berlin conference
c. Very hard to develop a sense of nationhood
d. Inability to develop a viable democratic politics; case of Sudan and Somalia
3. How did European societies come to be as they are today?
a. Need to keep in mind that the point of reference is the European Nation
b. Process that began in the 1500s
c. It would take almost 500 years to come to be what they are today
d. Historical map of Europe in the year 1500s, at this time there were more than 500
independent political units. Monarchies, empires, etc. There were 500 independent
political units and by the beginning of the 20 century, these 500 political units
disappeared and converged into the present European countries that we know today.
WEAK POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS
1. The new post-colonies just gained their independent recently, as opposed to the Europeans who
had gone through changes in ideologies, economics and politics for more than 500 years!
2. A reference to what has been said earlier pertaining that while the literature might claim that
democracy has failed in the post-colonial world, one needs to ask the question “was democracy
there in the first place to begin with?”
a. Colonialism cannot be assimilated to the idea of democracy. IT WAS NOT
b. The political institutions that colonialists developed were for the colonizers benefit and
not for the colonized people.
3. Established democracies took over 500 years to develop,
a. 16 century where significant economic, political, ideological and cultural changes began
to occur; which would gradually lead to the transformation of converged political units.
b. References to modernity.
c. When did modernity come? 16 century; it‟s important due to all of the changes that
began to occur in Western Europe.
d. Happened to emerge here before they emerged anywhere else.
4. Capitalism for Europeans; th
5. What else happened in the 16 century?
a. Ideological changes that some in particular instances might be tempted to be seen as
b. Ideological change Split in Catholic Churches
i. Reformation movement,
ii. Split in the catholic church that lead to secularization of societies
c. 500 political independent units, were engaged in the “word of every man against every
other man” (HOBBES)
i. Different units trying to es