Exploring the Impact of Political Context on State–Civil Society Relations: Actors’ Strategies in a Developmental State

  • Hiwot Amare TadesseEmail author
  • Trui Steen
Original Paper


How does a state govern civil society organizations (CSOs) under the framework of a developmental state? This article theorizes state-CSO relations by examining control and autonomy strategies employed by both the state and civil society actors within the framework of the developmental state. The article examines the case of a specific collaborative project that involves both state and non-state actors in the Amhara region, North Shewa zone of Ethiopia. Findings suggest that the state agencies apply cross-purpose strategies simultaneously repressing and/or co-opting organizations. The nature and applicability of the developmental state generate their own dilemma on the part of CSOs and induce them to develop autonomy strategies that are used in sustaining their interaction with state agencies.


Civil society Developmental state State–civil society relation Ethiopia 



This study was financed by VLIR-UOS Team initiatives (2013–2018).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© International Society for Third-Sector Research and The Johns Hopkins University 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.KU Leuven, Public Governance InstituteLouvainBelgium

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