SUM4031 – Latin American Politics and Development

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Course content

This course provides the student with the ability to analyze current political and economic developments in Latin America and how they are interconnected. It gives the student in depth knowledge on the central political and economic processes, actors and institutions explaining features including deep economic, social and political inequalities; the existence of broad social movements, and strong democratic traditions along with populism, clientilism and authoritarianism. It places special emphasis on how this has conditioned the development of the state in Latin America. It further places the developments in Latin America into a new global context, and analyzes the impact of international strategies and alliances with global actors including the United States, China, and Russia.  The course takes a political economy perspective as a starting point, and provides the student with tools to analyze not only specific developments in Latin America but also the importance of Latin America to developments in other parts of the world.

Among the issue areas studied are:

  • Populism, clientilism, authoritarianism
  • Social movements, democratization, political institutions
  • Resource dependence, extractivism, development
  • Elite politics, inequality
  • Geopolitics, internationalism, globalization 

Learning outcome


The student will:

  • obtain through knowledge about economic development and political institutions and actors in Latin America
  • understand similarities and differences between different countries and regions in Latin America
  • engage critically with various theories and approaches to politics and development in Latin America and to apply them in empirical analysis
  • gain in depth knowledge on the interface between economic and political development in Latin America on the one hand, and globalization and shifts in global geopolitics.
  • understand the evolution of the state in different parts of Latin America and its impact on current economic and political dynamics.


The student will:

  • learn to compare and contrast different perspectives on politics and development in Latin America
  • be trained in analyzing current events in historical and comparative perspectives
  • acquire the capacity to evaluate the adequacy of existing and proposed policy interventions in Latin America.
  • be able to assess the plausibility of future trajectories of Latin American politics and development.


The student will:

  • become conversant with the experiences in a region which is an important source of ideas and development experiences and examples in the global repertoire of development politics and policies
  • acquire a solid background for being involved with Latin America as a part business engagement, policy engagement, political advocacy or Research.


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

Students enrolled in other Master's Degree Programmes can, on application, be admitted to the course if this is cleared by their own study programme.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

The minimum requirement for admission to this course is a bachelors degree (or equivalent) within social sciences, the humanities, or natural sciences.If you have a natural science background, you should have at least half a year's studies (30 ECTS) within the humanities or social sciences to prepare you for the interdisciplinary challenges this course offers. Please contact Centre for Development and the Environment for more information regarding admission.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

The minimum requirement for admission is:

  • a bachelors degree within social sciences, the humanities, or natural sciences. Students with a natural science background should have at least half a year's studies (30 ECST credits) within the humantities or social sciences to prepare them for the interdisciplinary challenges this course offers.
  • passed examination in English foundation course (140 hours/5 periods per week) in Norwegian upper secondary school with a minimum grade of 4 (or an equivalent grade from a Nordic upper secondary school) or alternatively passed examination in English from second and/or third school year, or an internationally recognised English language proficiency test.


This is how you apply for a valid absence from compulsory activities/compulsory attendance:

Access to teaching

A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.


4 hour school exam.

Digital examination

The written examination is conducted in the digital examination system Inspera. You will need to familiarize yourself with the digital examination arrangements in Inspera.

Read more about written examinations using Inspera.

Examination support material

Students may use dictionaries at this exam.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Resit an examination

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.

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Teaching language