Postgraduate Modules: POL6870 - Development Politics and Policy

Module Code

POL 6870

Module Title

Development Politics


Level 4




30 credits

Taught by:

Dr Matt Bishop

Module Description:

This module focuses on the themes and issues that define contemporary development practice. The module will introduce students to the controversies that have been generated by discussions and debates about development, giving special attention to issues of power and contestation. The first part of the module looks at theories of development; the second looks at development politics and practice.

Students are encouraged to focus on specific country cases as much as possible. Seminars are run through discussion and group work. There are also opportunities for chatroom discussion and video podcasts from the module leader.

Module Aims:

This module aims to provide an advanced level of understanding of the main theories of development. By the end of the module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of the kinds of development programmes that have been attempted in post-colonial societies, specific country case studies which have undertaken distinctive programmes of social change.
  • 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.

This module also equips students with a range of important transferrable skills, which are vital in terms of employability, including working independently as well as part of a team; managing a varied workload; assimilating and synthesising multiple theoretical ideas; constructing coherent, independent and critical arguments.

Module Schedule:

1 What is development?
2 Modernisation
3 Dependency
4 After the ‘Impasse’
5 Post-structuralism
6 Gender
7 Neoliberal Policy and Strategy
8 Understanding State Policy
9 Participation
10 Sustainable development
11 Development and aid
12 Development, rights and obligations

Teaching Methods:

  • 12 * 2 hour lectures


  • Essay 1 (2,500 words) - 40% of mark
  • Essay 2 (3,500 words) - 60% of mark

Resources Available:

  • Individual feedback and guidance sessions with module tutors.
  • Detailed 25-page module handbook.
  • Dedicated module site on MOLE2.
  • Extensive library materials, including a wide variety of electronic and digitised resources.

Indicative Reading:

Brohman, J. (2005) Popular Development Oxford: Blackwells

Cypher, J. & Dietz, J (2004) The processes of economic development Routledge

Hettne, B. (1995) Development theory and the three worlds: towards an international political economy of development Harlow: Longman

Leys, C. (1996) The Rise and Fall of Development Theory London: James Currey

McMichael, P. (2000) Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective London: Sage.

Payne, A. (2005) The Global Politics of Unequal Development Basingstoke: Palgrave

Peet, R. (1999) Theories of Development Guildford Press

Rapley, J (2007) Understanding Development: Theory and Practice in the Third World Bolder CO:Lynne Rienner

Schuurman, F. ed. (1993) Beyond the Impasse: New Directions in Development Theory London: Zed Press.

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