This course is discontinued

STV4344B – Politics in developing countries: contextual analyses in theoretical perspectives

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The group of countries often termed “developing countries” is today more diverse than ever. While many countries host highly developed sectors and areas of affluence, there are still alarming problems of poverty, inequality, insecurity and deprivation of basic rights. Many of these developments are linked to global processes. But in addition, contextually grounded politics plays a decisive role in the explanation of failure to address these problems and to take advantage of opportunities to resolve them. This course reviews and critically discusses outstanding contributions that are aimed at grasping the specific features of politics in developing countries, and the challenges and opportunities for political solutions to the pressing problems. The contributions include theoretical and comparative analyses of the special role of politics in post-colonial governance, state-building and initial democratisation, state-society relations, state capacity, cleavages and social- and political organising, the new wave of democracy and its crises, and international support for peace and democracy.

Learning outcome

The aim of the course is to give you relatively advanced knowledge about and ability to analyse independently the role of politics in the crisis of development and policy formulation in the South.


Students admitted to other Master programs may also be qualified to apply for the course. Please contact the Departement of Political Science.

Only students admitted to the course may take part in instruction and tuition and sit for the examination.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

Bachelor's degree in Political Science or equivalent.

Recommended previous knowledge

Bachelor's degree in Political Science or equivalent.


This course will be taught at the University of Oslo, Blindern campus. Other locations in Oslo may be used. Fronter will normally be used.
Lectures will be given in a period of 5 weeks. The course is part of the regular course offerings at the Faculty of Social Science. Teaching is partly in daytime, partly in the evening. Detailed course-information is found on the Webpage for the current semester.
The course draws on the expertise of leading Oslo-based scholars on politics in developing countries and to the extent that conditions allow, guest lectures will be given on a number of themes. In their course papers, the students are also stimulated to relate the compulsory theoretical and comparative literature to a selection of recommended texts (or self-selected texts approved by the main teacher) on contextual thematic problems in special areas or regions in the Global South.


Participants will be evaluated on the basis of two components: (1) a written essay (10-15 pages in length) where the students discuss relevant parts of the compulsory literature in view of a briefer selected text(s) (approved by the main teacher) on contextual thematic problems in special areas or regions in the Global South, and (2) a 3-hour written exam.
The final exam counts 60% of the grade, and in order to pass the course, your essay and your written exam must be passed in the same semester as the course is taught. You will receive one overall grade for the course.
The Faculty of Social Science is responsible for the exam(s), and exam(s) are/is normally held at the University of Oslo, Blindern campus. Other locations in Oslo may be used.

Examination support material

Dictionary, which must be handed in to the Department of Political Science office at least one day before the written exam.

Language of examination

It is generally possible to submit your response in Norwegian, Swedish, Danish or English.

Grading scale

Course grades are awarded on a descending scale using alphabetic grades from A to E for passes and F for fail.

Examination results are available in StudentWeb within three weeks after the examination-date, if no other information is given on the Webpage for the current semester.

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

Students may apply for access to alternative exam resources or exam forms on the basis of chronic illness and/or special needs that create a marked disadvantage to other students in the exam situation. Mothers who are breastfeeding may apply for extra time to complete the exam.

Application-forms for special examination arrangements on school-exams may be sent to The Faculty of Social Science. Application-forms for special examination arrangements on other exams may be sent to the institute who organise the course.


This course is evaluated half way through every semester and every four year the course undergoes a thorough evaluation.

An external auditor regularly evaluates the academic quality of the course and he/she makes a written report every year.

Facts about this course






Autumn 2009


Autumn 2009

Teaching language