From pockets of effectiveness to topographies of state performance?

Roll, Michael
External Publications (2023)

in: Sam Hickey (ed.), Pockets of Effectiveness and the Politics of State-building and Development in Africa, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 245-260

ISBN: 978–0–19–286496–3

This chapter provides a critical assessment of the contributions and limitations of the book "Pockets of Effectiveness and the Politics of State-building and Development in Africa". The book advances existing work on pockets of effectiveness (PoEs) by systematically investigating the links between political context and bureaucratic performance. It presents a new theoretical framework in conjunction with a comparative research design and links PoEs research to broader debates about the politics of state-building in Africa and beyond. The chapter discusses the reframing of PoEs suggested by the authors, their power domains framework, the distinction between PoEs emergence and persistence, the role of ideas for PoEs, and the generalizability of the book's findings. Based on this discussion, future directions for PoEs research are outlined, covering both theory and method. A change of focus is suggested from PoEs to a broader perspective on 'topographies of state performance' into which the study of PoEs can then be embedded.

About the author

Roll, Michael



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