Population Change, Urbanization, and Political Consolidation

Jeffrey Herbst

in The Oxford Handbook of Contextual Political Analysis

Published in print March 2006 | ISBN: 9780199270439
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

 Population Change, Urbanization, and Political Consolidation

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This article looks into the political implications of population change and urbanization for state consolidation of the historically unprecedented situation that most populations everywhere will be located primarily in urban areas. It discusses the opportunities and challenges that urbanization poses for two critical aspects of state consolidation: building the coercive apparatus of the state itself and the popular control of public coercion through the establishment of democracy. The movement of people to the cities in developing countries presents opportunities as well as dangers to states. But no matter how disorganized and chaotic major cities in the poorer parts of the developing world appear to outsiders, these areas are actually amongst the easiest for a state to control and could be the vanguards for democratization.

Keywords: population change; urbanization; state consolidation; public coercion; democracy; developing countries; democratization

Article.  6163 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics

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