International aid often operates in authoritarian contexts, as the vast majority of developing countries are non-democratic or in political transition. While some countries are in the mould of predation and rule by repression, others have developed sophisticated mechanisms of market economics and maintaining social order without overt violence or repression. We will examine the variations of authoritarian rule, their origins and the underpinnings of their persistence: Coercion, (re)distribution of economic benefits, legitimation, quasi-democratic institutions and the role of digital technology. We will also challenge the notion that authoritarianism and democracy are incompatible and explore political dynamics during periods of political transition.
This course is for 2nd year MIA and MPP students only.