Political Science | Institutional Analysis and Development
Y673 | 9594 | Sawyer

Course meets at the Workshop, 513 N. Park   4:00-6:00 W

Topic: Conflict Resolution and Self-Governance in Africa (And Other

National and international institutions have been overwhelmed by
violent conflicts within countries in many parts of the world.  In
this seminar we begin a research program focused on the untapped
potential of conflict resolution techniques based on indigenous
practices.  We will apply the theoretical concepts and analytical
tools of institutional analysis to better understand the capabilities
and limitations of indigenous mechanisms of dispute resolution.
Particular attention will be given to indigenous, traditional, and
informal institutions in Africa, but students interested in other
regions are encouraged to apply these same concepts elsewhere.  Each
student will complete a research paper on some aspect of indigenous
or informal methods of dispute resolution and governance. Preliminary
findings will be discussed in class, and the final papers will be
presented at a mini-conference held at the end of the semester.
Reading materials will include works by scholars in the U.S. and
Africa associated with the newly formed Consortium for Self-
Governance in Africa.  These works will explore the importance of
language and culture in the development of institutions for local
self-governance.  We will consider the extent to which such
institutions can be used as a new foundation for democratic forms of
governance in the developing world.  We will also study alternative
conceptualizations of governance, in particular the contrast between
the Hobbesian notion of unitary sovereignty and a more complex vision
of federal and polycentric self-governance.  Since virtually all
modern states were formed according to the Hobbesian vision, our
efforts to shift attention to another view of governance has powerful
implications for the future of Africa (and other regions).
This seminar is part of a two-semester sequence in Institutional
Analysis and Development supported by the Workshop in Political
Theory and Policy Analysis.  Either seminar can be taken separately.
(Visiting scholars and other colleagues are regular participants in
both seminars.)  The fall seminar covers the basic tools of
institutional analysis and the spring seminar applies these concepts
to particular research topics. Students who are not familiar with
either institutional analysis or indigenous African cultures are
encouraged to enroll, since introductory readings in both areas will
be included.  Students will also be asked to complete bi-weekly
readings on the memos and to participate fully in class discussions.