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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 policies). This course also aims to deepen the students’ knowledge on various historical, political, social, cultural and technical aspects, which are determining factors at the formulation and implementation of public policies in Latin America. They have to apply their knowledge of some mega-discussion on public policies to their individual research topics.



Mode of instruction

Lectures and individual presentations.

Course load

  • 26 Hours of Classes

  • 104 Hours of reading and class preparation

  • 90 Hours for 3 brief assignments

  • 60 Hours for paper

Assessment method

The final grade [100%] is composed of 4 parts:
1) Paper (50%)
2) Brief presentation of paper (10%)
3) Collective presentation (written) (30%)
4) paper proposal (10%)

The papers for the research master should pay more attention to the theoretical framework. To this end, these students will get some extra lectures focused on theory and methodology.

In case of a resit, only the final paper (50%) can be rewritten.


Blackboard will be used to post all the necessary information about the course (programme, time tables, announcements, etc.). Also notices will be posted on interesting activities (such as Conferences, workshops, expositions, etc.), which are related to the themes analyzed during the course.

Reading list

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


Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Study in Leiden website for information on how to apply

Contact information

Prof.dr. P. Silva. Tel.: 071-527 5496.
Dr. M.L. Wiesebron. Tel.: 071-527 2063


Compulsory presence at lectures and presentations.