Home > News and media > Publications > Publications archive > 2014 > Popular Representations of Development: insights from novels, films, television and social media


Popular Representations of Development: insights from novels, films, television and social media

Page Contents >

David Lewis, Dennis Rodgers, Michael Woolcock (eds)
Routledge (January 2014)

Although the academic study of development is well established, as is also its policy implementation, less considered are the broader, more popular understandings of development that often shape agendas and priorities, particularly in representative democracies.

Through its accessible and provocative chapters, Popular Representations of Development introduces the idea that while the issue of ‘development’ – defined broadly as problems of poverty and social deprivation, and the various agencies and processes seeking to address these – is normally one that is discussed by social scientists and policy makers, it also has a wider ‘popular’ dimension. Development is something that can be understood through studying literature, films, and other non-conventional forms of representation. It is also a public issue, one that has historically been associated with musical movements such as Live Aid and increasingly features in newer media such as blogs and social networking. The book connects the effort to build a more holistic understanding of development issues with an exploration of the diverse public sphere in which popular engagement with development takes place.

This book gives students of development studies, media studies and geography as well as students in the humanities engaging with global development issues a variety of perspectives from different disciplines to open up this new field for discussion. 

  • David Lewis is Professor of Social Policy and Development at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE), United Kingdom
  • Dennis Rodgers is Professor of Urban Social and Political Research at the University of Glasgow, United Kingdom
  • Michael Woolcock is Lead Social Development Specialist with the World Bank's Development Research Group in Washington, DC, and Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University

Purchase the book from the publishers|.


'This book is for a worthy cause, that of going beyond the currently popular quantitative and experimental approach to economic development, to look into wider, often more insightful, humanistic forms of representation of the development process. It shows how representations in literature, films, television, and internet may capture the complexity and nuances of the social processes involved in development in ways not considered in the standard approach.'
Pranab Bardhan, University of California, Berkeley

'This wonderfully engaging and thought-provoking collection provides many lessons about representation and power for researchers and students alike. It will prove to be an invaluable teaching resource and will become a benchmark for much future research.'
Cathy McIlwaine, University of London