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State, public policies and civil society in Latin America


Admission requirements

To be registered as a student in a (Research) Master programme.


This course focuses on the main developmental strategies and policies which are currently deployed by several Latin American governments to deal with major problems such as poverty and public security, and in the field of education. A selection of specific policies are analyzed in detail, looking at their formulation and implementation, achievements, and limitations. Also attention is given to the reactions and alternative proposals to these state initiatives coming from civil society, including social movements and non-governmental organizations.

Course objectives

  • Learn to analyze a specific historical, social and cultural situation in a wider perspective (i.e. the relationship between state and civil society, from the perspective of both the formulation and implementation of social/public policies).

  • To deepen the students’ knowledge on various historical, political, social, cultural and technical aspects, which are determining factors in the formulation and implementation of public policies in Latin America.

  • To apply their knowledge of larger academic discussion on public policies to the individual research topics.



Mode of instruction

Lectures and individual presentations.

Course load

Total course load 10EC x 28 hours=280 hours

  • Lectures: 12

  • Practical work: 12

  • Study of compulsory literature: 94

  • Weekly assignments: 70

  • Final paper: 92

Assessment method


1) Paper (50%)
2) Brief presentation of paper (10%)
3) Weekly homework assignments (30%)
4) Paper proposal (10%)

The papers for the research master should pay more attention to the theoretical framework of their paper and relate the case study to a key debate on Latin American Modernities (discussed in the core courses). To this end, these students will get at least one extra individual meeting focused on theory and a more complex research question.


The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.


The resit is (in principle) only possible in case of an insufficient final grade.
The resit for the final paper entails a revised version of the paper (50%).
The resit for the weekly assignments is a revised version of those assignments (30%)
The resist for the paper proposal and/or the presentation of the paper is a revised version of the paper proposal (20%). This new grade will replace both the previous grades obtained for the paper presentation and the paper proposal.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used for:

  • providing study materials and other course information

Reading list

A list of specialized articles on public policies which will be later announced at Blackboard


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.

General information about uSis is available in English and Dutch

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Registration Contractonderwijs

Contact information

For questions about the content of the course, you can contact the teacher:
Dr. H.A.S. Solheim

Coordinator of Studies: A.C. Wapenaar MA

Administrations Office: van Wijkplaats.


Class attendance is mandatory. Students may miss a maximum of three meetings. Depending on the number of sessions missed, the lecturer may impose complementary assignments in order to meet the requirements of the course.