DV507      Half Unit

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Sohini Kar


This course is available on the MRes/PhD in International Development. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

The course is an interdisciplinary analysis of poverty. With attention to both the macro-level political economy of poverty and the micro-level lived experiences of the poor, we will examine how and why poverty persists in developing countries and analyse policy interventions and their outcomes. The course is interdisciplinary in focus, drawing on a range of methodological approaches to poverty, and does not require any prior mathematical or statistical qualification.

The course begins with an examination of the definition and measurement of poverty. We will then consider social mobility, followed by the spatial dimensions of poverty, including urban and rural poverty. We will then turn to issues of work and employment, social protection, and the politics of poverty, followed by weeks on environmental poverty, and private sector involvement, including the question of financial inclusion. The course will end with focus on successful cases of pro-poor development.


20 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will give at least one class presentation, and submit one formative essay of 2000 words.

Indicative reading

  • Javier Auyero, Patients of the State: The Politics of Waiting in Argentina (Duke University Press 2012)
  • Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo, Poor Economics: A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty (Public Affairs/Penguin 2011)
  • Anirudh Krishna, Broken Ladder: The Paradox and Potential of India’s One Billion (Cambridge University Press 2017)
  • Tania Li, Land's End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier (Duke University Press 2014)
  • Rob Nixon, Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Harvard University Press Ananya Roy, 2011)
  • Poverty Capital: Microfinance and the Making of Development (Routledge 2010)


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the ST.

Assessment will be 100% on final 5,000 word essay. The topic of the essay will be related to the course, but the specific question will be developed with each student prior to the end of term. The research-based essay will enable students to develop a literature review that will complement their research interests, while the course syllabus will provide a key set of resources for students to consult in developing their research topic.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: International Development

Total students 2019/20: Unavailable

Average class size 2019/20: Unavailable

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Specialist skills