IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

The Possibility of State Formation: The Experience of Botswana in a Theoretical Perspective


  • Stein Sundstøl Eriksen

    (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Oslo)


This article examines the process of state formation in Botswana in the light of the major theoretical literature on the issue. It is argued that neither the geopolitical nor the fiscal theories of state formation can explain why the state in Botswana became so strong and effective. An alternative framework is outlined, in which state formation is seen as shaped by the relationship between states, regimes and social groups. The formation of a strong state in Botswana became possible because it was compatible with the interests of the ruling regime (politically as well as economically), and because the ruling regime had sufficient power to carry out a project of state strengthening.Cet article examine le processus de construction de l′État au Botswana, à la lumière d′importants travaux théoriques sur la question. Nous soutenons que ni les théories géopolitiques ni les théories fiscales sur la construction de l′État ne peuvent expliquer comment l′État, au Botswana, a tant gagné en force et en efficacité. Nous proposons un cadre différent dans lequel la construction de l′État est vue comme étant conditionnée par la relation entre les États, les régimes et les groupes sociaux. La construction d′un État fort au Botswana est devenue possible car elle était compatible avec les intérêts du régime au pouvoir (tant politiquement qu′ économiquement), et également parce que ce dernier avait suffisamment de pouvoir pour exécuter un projet de renforcement de l′État.

Suggested Citation

  • Stein Sundstøl Eriksen, 2011. "The Possibility of State Formation: The Experience of Botswana in a Theoretical Perspective," The European Journal of Development Research, Palgrave Macmillan;European Association of Development Research and Training Institutes (EADI), vol. 23(3), pages 444-458, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:23:y:2011:i:3:p:444-458

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text PDF
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    File URL:
    File Function: Link to full text HTML
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:pal:eurjdr:v:23:y:2011:i:3:p:444-458. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sonal Shukla) or (Rebekah McClure). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.