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

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  • Stein Sundstøl Eriksen

    (Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, Oslo)

Abstract

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
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