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The Political Economy Of Development (Module)

Module description

Please note that module information is indicative and may change year to year.

This module focuses on the actors and issues that have defined development theory and practice previously and that continue to define contemporary development. The module will introduce students to the controversies that have been generated by discussions and debates about development from the emergence of the concept/practice onwards. It aims to place development as theory and practice in a historical perspective, paying particular attention both to its often forgotten beginnings and recent challenges to received ‘development wisdom’ coming from feminist, environmental and postmodernist quarters, as well as from profound shifts observable in practice, e.g. the rise of BRICs countries.  

Module aims

This module aims to:

Provide an advanced level of understanding of the main theories of development;

Introduce students to the kinds of development strategies that have been undertaken in specific periods in time;

Critically examine the colonial origins of, and decolonial challenges to, the concept of development;

Allow students to critically assess empirical evidence and apply theoretical knowledge to contemporary issues in global development.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will be able to:

Demonstrate knowledge of the kinds of development strategies that have been undertaken in specific periods in time;

Apply conceptual tools to evaluate critically development thinking and policy; identify the theoretical and normative premises behind development programmes, locating them in a historical context, and utilising a comparative method, employ a detailed knowledge of case studies to understand contemporary situations and events;

Demonstrate appropriate cognitive, communicative and transferable skills, including ability to evaluate advanced concepts and theories, to employ primary and secondary sources, to present reasoned and effective arguments in written and oral form, to make individual and group presentations, to pursue independent learning and to show critical judgement.

Staff information

Not applicable

Teaching pattern

Two hours per week, one lecture and one seminar 

Indicative teaching schedule

Week 1: Introduction: What is development?
Week 2: Classical Development: Classical Liberal Theory and Classical Historical Materialism
Week 3: Catch-up Development: nationalist versions and communist versions
Week 4: Golden Age Development: Modernization theory and Underdevelopment
Week 5: The Neoliberal ‘Revolution’ and the Washington Consensus
Week 6: Neo-Statist Development and the East Asian ‘Miracle’
Week 7: Alternative Approaches: Human Development and Gender Approaches
Week 8: Alternative Approaches: Environmental challenges
Week 9: Alternative Approaches: Postmodernist challenges
Week 10: BRICS – new models of development?

Note that this teaching schedule is indicative and subject to change.

Module assessment - more information

One 4000 word essay (80%) and one short essay (20%)

Key information

Module code 7AAOM221

Credit level 7

Assessment coursework

Credit value 20

Semester Semester 1 (autumn)

Study abroad module Yes