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

Abstract

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.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    EPRDF is a combination of four ethnic based parties. Tigray people liberation front, Amhara National Democratic Movement, Oromo People’s Democratic Organization and Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Front.

  2. 2.

    TPLF: Tigray People Liberation Front, the leading party that created a coalition with three other ethnic parties to form EPRDF.

  3. 3.

    A local government tier in-between region and district.

  4. 4.

    Zone office of Finance and Economic cooperation shall replace ZoFED as the name changes.

  5. 5.

    Derg is a committee in Amharic, which refers to the military regime that lead Ethiopia for 17 years.

  6. 6.

    Bureau of Finance and Economic cooperation (BoFEC) shall replace BoFED as the name changes.

  7. 7.

    The Ethiopia’s 5th National Health Account (NHA) shows that the country’s health expenditure has been growing steadily. In 2010/2011, it reached Birr 26.5 billion (US$1.6billion), up from Birr 11.1 billion (US$1.2 billion) in 2007/2008. The major source of this increment is from funding by donors and international NGOs. However, also government spending on health increased substantially from Birr 2.5 to Birr 4.1 billion. The share of GDP going to health reached 5.2% in 2010/2011, up significantly from 4.5% in 2007/2008 (FMOH 2014).

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Funding

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

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Correspondence to Hiwot Amare Tadesse.

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Appendices

Appendix 1

See Table 2.

Table 2 Controlling strategies—operationalizing concepts for interview analysis, based on literature study

Appendix 2

See Table 3.

Table 3 Autonomy strategies—operationalizing concepts for interview analysis, based on literature study

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Tadesse, H.A., Steen, T. Exploring the Impact of Political Context on State–Civil Society Relations: Actors’ Strategies in a Developmental State. Voluntas 30, 1256–1269 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11266-018-00077-1

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Keywords

  • Civil society
  • Developmental state
  • State–civil society relation
  • Ethiopia