The Possibility of State Formation: the Experience of Botswana in a Theoretical Perspective
Eriksen, Stein Sundstøl
This article examines the process of state formation in Botswana in the light of the major theoretical literature on the issue. It is argued that neither the geopolitical nor the fiscal theories of state formation can explain why the state in Botswana became so strong and effective. An alternative framework is outlined, in which state formation is seen as shaped by the relationship between states, regimes and social groups. The formation of a strong state in Botswana became possible because it was compatible with the interests of the ruling regime (politically as well as economically), and because the ruling regime had sufficient power to carry out a project of state strengthening.